Boston. Sydney. Paris. Copenhagen. Homegrown extremists are hitting at the heart of cities all around the world - radicalized and recruited in part through social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Groups like ISIS and Boko Haram have proven adept at weaponizing those platforms and using them as distribution networks for propaganda and incitements to kill.
One group, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has been working to flag any account containing violent content – and found Twitter has only closed down a small number of problem accounts. CEP reached out to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, hoping to work together to take down extremist accounts, but Twitter declined their invitation.
If you think social media platforms should do more to stop violent extremism, there’s something you can do. Join with CEP’s President, Fran Townsend, and CEO, Ambassador Mark Wallace, in their effort to hold Twitter responsible for quickly shutting down accounts that spread content aimed at radicalizing and recruiting vulnerable youth.
Sign the Counter Extremism Project’s petition and share it on Twitter using the hashtag #Ronation.
There are major practical difficulties that may prevent social media companies from perfect enforcement - but perfect should never be the enemy of good.
And there are legitimate free-speech questions about some content. But those grey areas don’t excuse a lack of enforcement against direct calls for murder. “No one’s suggesting they remove all journalistic clips…” explains Evan Kohlmann, a counter-terrorism analyst with Flashpoint Partners and NBC News. ”This is about extremely explicit content, calling for violence.”
More can be done. And you can help lend your voice.
Look forward to hearing from you,