How to fight terrorism in social media?

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Facebook and new technologies are seeking to create a wall that prevents the development of terrorist groups and acts in social media

How to fight terrorism in social media?

Social media have put everything within reach of a click, even to groups and terrorist actions. That is why now is the time to use technological advances to prevent this terrorist behavior from continuing to be perpetuated. To combat this, the UN created a department that seeks to develop technology to prevent terrorism and its propaganda on social networks.

Leer en español: ¿Cómo combatir el terrorismo en redes sociales?

Artificial intelligence is the main tool to combat terrorist propaganda. However, propaganda is not the only use that is given to social media. Terrorist groups also communicate there, which is even more complex to determine and curb.

Technology against terrorism

This department created by the UN arose as a response to terrorist acts that have been re-used in the network. According to the organization, 35,000 people have been recruited for violent groups in 100 countries through the internet.

For example, the blog 'El futuro es apasionante' (Future is passioning), from El País, states that the network managed to circulate an advertisement that ISIS was looking for a Community Manager. This project seeks to prevent this type of action from happening, actions that are within the reach of anyone.

This, in addition, without mentioning that it has been known that terrorist groups have developed the ability to hack accounts and platforms to carry out cyber attacks. The Dialnet Foundation published an article that talks about the uses of technology by jihadist terrorism, where it states that "the use of new technologies, with the ultimate purpose of committing a terrorist action to use or in the form of cyber attack is a transnational problem that demands a coordinated and integrated action between the different states of the interstate system".

Read also: Zuckerberg and Facebook: the road to privacy

"Until now, governments have not come up with a way to do it (avoid network terrorism). We are talking about billions of users, potentially billions of crimes. How can we adapt our traditional legal system to the new uses of technologies?", says Adam Hadley, project director.

According to Hadley, the decentralization of the internet is an important factor to be taken into account.However, it is even more important that nations worry about creating laws and paying close attention to groups and not just blaming the internet. Likewise, media have played a propaganda role in this type of actions or videos that they often publish without thinking about the repercussions of spreading terrorist messages.

The bet of Facebook

Facebook has been one of the most criticized scenarios for allowing violent actions to develop, and in some cases terrorist dyes. Then, Zuckerberg has decided to act, reinforcing security and censorship.

The thing that unleashed everything was the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The white supremacist, through Facebook Live, recorded when he entered a mosque attacking the assistants, which resulted in the attack on another mosque and had 50 dead and at least 50 injured. This fact was publish through a live post, allowing around 1.2 million people to download the video, according to RT.

Read also: New Zealand: jihadists respond to massacres

The danger of live videos had already been subject of conversation in the past, people recorded unpleasant facts, or even suicides, which makes us question the effectiveness of artificial intelligence to combat this happening.

According to what was reported, in the case of the attack in New Zealand, the artificial intelligence failed to determine whether the content was inappropriate or not and therefore took a long time to censor it. Although after the platform could download all the videos that had been played, it is likely that many people still have the video on their computers, and does not remove the millions who did watch it.

This is why, according to the New Zealand Herald, Facebook is investing in research to build technology that is more effective in identifying violent messages, images and videos, both original and edited replicas.


Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from "¿Cómo combatir el terrorismo en redes sociales?"