Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have teamed up to share their expertise spotting terrorism-related content, in order to crimp its spread. IT security experts from Lieberman Software, AlienVault, ESET and Comparitech.com commented below.
Philip Lieberman, President at Lieberman Software:
“This is a positive step for civilization, but where is the concurrent support of Google, Yahoo and other search engines that provide index to this content?”
Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault:
“This news is no big surprise. In today’s connected world, it is near impossible for companies, no matter how large, to single-handedly detect and respond to all threats. Whether these threats relate to content that promotes terrorism, or the latest ransomware campaigns.
Threat sharing between companies has become an almost essential part of an online security strategy, and we will likely see more companies sharing threat data between themselves either directly, or by use of an open platform such as Open Threat Exchange.”
Mark James, IT Security Specialist at ESET:
“Any attempt to limit the content that can potentially promote harm has to be a good thing. With the big names being in control of our social networks, taking this initiative they should hopefully form a good base to highlight or flag this type of activity and shut it down before it promotes harm.
As with all initiatives like this, getting it right won’t be easy, there will have to be measures in place to ensure private information is not shared but for it to work more companies will need to follow suit and join in. Working together is key here, currently allowing each platform to decide the actions they take may boost the chances of this initiative working and achieving its desired goal.
The internet has so much to offer, it reaches so many people but sadly there are always people who will use these platforms for foul deeds, we have to make steps in the right direction if we want to promote a safer internet for our next generation.”
Lee Munson, Security Researcher at Comparitech.com:
“The news that Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter are joining forces to tackle extremist, hateful and violent videos and imagery is to be welcomed, though with some caveats. Firstly, ‘digital fingerprinting’ is not some magic bullet solution that will prevent all questionable material from making its way online – it is very much a reactionary measure that any determined poster could easily work around, albeit they may now have a much smaller window of opportunity for getting their message out there.
Secondly, there is the question of what is offensive material in the first place. Considering one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, and the fact that we’ve already heard about fake news stories and allegedly biased reporting of elections and other important topics, we can only hope that those doing the censoring have the interests of the majority in mind when blocking material from appearing online.”