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Push internet companies to remove terrorist propaganda

Last updated: 12:00pm 17 January 2019

We will continue to push the internet companies to deliver on their commitments to develop technical tools to identify and remove terrorist propaganda, to help smaller companies build their capabilities and to provide support for civil society organisations to promote alternative and counter-narratives.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.79

Our verdict

Terrorist organisations use internet platforms, and especially social media, to publish their propaganda and recruit new members. A key part of tackling online propaganda is detecting and removing it quickly, to reduce the risk of people being radicalised.

Since the election the government has worked closely with the tech and internet industries in order to develop new tools to detect online propaganda, and to encourage cooperation with internet companies. Moreover, the government played a key role in the creation of the Global Internet Forum for Counter-Terrorism, an international industry-led forum (based on technological solutions, research and knowledge-sharing) aimed at stopping the spread of terrorist content online, which counts Microsoft, Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook as members.

The Home Office also worked with ASI Data Science and announced in February 2018 the development of a new tool to detect Daesh propaganda online, which will be shared with smaller companies. In May 2018 the government announced the first round of competitions for tech specialists to develop solutions to contemporary social challenges, with “identifying terrorist still imagery” as one of the upcoming challenges.

Finally, the UK has worked closely with other governments (notably France and the other so-called Five Eye members – the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) to encourage internet companies to cooperate and explore the possibility of legal reform.

For all these reasons, we are marking this policy as ‘done’ – the government is clearly encouraging internet companies through a variety of means to better identify and remove terrorist propaganda.

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