INTERNET

Facebook unveils UK initiative to curb online extremism

Foundation in memory of British lawmaker murdered by far-right extremist backs tech giant's campaign

Anadolu Agency

Facebook -- one of the world's biggest social media platforms, used by millions of people -- launched an initiative on Friday to curb online extremist material in the U.K.

The Online Civil Courage Initiative claims to educate British NGOs on how to monitor and respond to extremist content. It will create a support desk where concerns can be flagged up.

Facebook’s initiative, which it previously launched in Germany and France, comes as minimizing online extremism and hate speech dominates the British agenda in the wake of terrorist attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called on technology companies to do more to curb “poisonous propaganda”. She also revealed her government's intentions to deal with the matter in Wednesday's Queen's Speech.

Condemning the recent terrorist attacks, the European Council said on Thursday it would “fight the spread of radicalization online” by improving the flow of information between law-enforcement bodies.

A U.K. think tank called the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said it would support the Facebook initiative. It said it would help the scheme mobilize "innovative technology together with expert knowledge" to counter the spread of extremist rhetoric.

The initiative's founding partners include the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in memory of the murdered British MP, and other anti-hate groups from the Jewish and Muslim communities, such as TellMama -- a group recording anti-Muslim hate crime.

"There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook,” the company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said.

"We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

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