In June 2017, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Apple announced the creation of a Global Forum Against Terrorism (GIFCT). At the time, the tech giants explained, ” By working together, sharing the best technological and organizational tools developed by each of our companies, we can have a greater impact on the threat posed by terrorist content online.”

Web giants crack down on violent groups

These companies are not alone in this initiative and have been joined by academics, governments and other international bodies such as the European Union and the UN. One of the objectives of this structure is the establishment of a database shared between members to ensure moderation or removal of propaganda content.

Four years later, the organization has just announced an update of its practices. While the notion of terrorism used to refer mainly to groups on the United Nations list (the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the Taliban), the alliance is going to broaden the type of extremist publications targeted to include those of white supremacists and far-right militias, Reuters reports.

This measure could therefore affect manifestos and best practices commonly shared by far-right organisations such as the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, and neo-Nazis. Quoted by the news agency, Nicholas Rasmussen, the GIFCT’s executive director, said

Anyone who looks at the landscape of terrorism or extremism has to realize that there are other aspects… that require attention at this time.

Regardless of this initiative, it has been noted that the web giants have been cracking down hard on these groups in recent years, which were not as worried in the past. Their supporters tend to turn away from these large platforms to join alternative social networks such as Gab or Parler, which have a reputation for being less strict in terms of moderation.

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The effectiveness of this new system will be judged on its own merits, but taking into account these radical groups, whose actions are far from being confined to the virtual world, is a step in the right direction. If you’re interested in the subject of militias and their interactions with Facebook and its ilk, you can find the analysis we published before the American presidential election.