Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google, Twitter, Telegram etc.. have all been alerted (for years) to the enormous amount of terrorist propaganda found on their platforms. Yet- they aren’t compelled to proactively monitor their platforms. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg assured the world before United States Congress that Facebook is instituting new policies to protect their users. Sounds like a great plan – “A day late and a dollar short”.
We analyze hundreds of darknet, terrorist, invite-only channels for social media links. Additionally, we share these links daily in our fight against terrorism. BOC has notified Facebook, on more than one occasion, of the exploitation of their platform which fell on deaf ears as recently as February 2018. WhatsApp (purchased by Facebook for $19 billion) currently hosts over 200 terrorist propaganda channels for recruiting purposes. WhatsApp has approximately 300 employees at their headquarters in California; however it does not have the budget or priority to take action on extremists and hate content. Have they earned our confidence to entrust our private communications and content?
The optics for large tech companies combating hate content is more self-serving rather than a sense of social responsibility and good corporate governance. We often hear in the news stories of extremist content found on social media platforms before their respective talking-heads attempt to assure us they are doing all they can. We then hear these same social media companies’ deflecting their responsibility. Statements pop up implying that companies rely on users to report hate content.
Law makers and leaders globally all agree that social media is accountable for the content shared by users to the extent that Germany can impose fines of up to €50 million per day. Is this enough for social media to proactively institute their own policies for removing content? Unfortunately, fines and reprimands are not enough. We as a society have the option to not use social media for sharing where we live, work, educated and eating.
Another trend we are seeing is extremist hacking Facebook accounts and taking over user profiles. The hacked FB profile link is then added to invite-only extremist channels on Telegram and WhatsApp. We find this to be alarming. After all, millions of Facebook users are abandoning their accounts due to privacy concerns.