Speaking at the first Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism workshop in San Francisco with representatives from the tech industry, government and non-governmental organizations, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, called for a united stand against online terror.
The forum was formed last month by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube with the aim of formalising how the companies can work together to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism on their hosted platforms.
The founding tech companies in the forum had previously come under criticism for not taking the issue of the spread of terrorism seriously enough, following a Times investigation exposing digital platforms unwittingly hosting extremist content.
The Home Secretary was joined by other technology companies and NGOs plus United States Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke as well as representatives from the European Union and the United Nations to share information and best practices about how to counter the threat of terrorist content online.
Addressing the forum the Home Secretary said: “We need to do more to help keep our communities safe. The scale of the threat we face is not something any one of us can tackle alone and only through collective action across governments, civil society and industry can we seek to defeat it. I welcome the commitment of the forum to take this work forward.
“There is no doubt that the challenge is complex. But it is important to remember that behind these discussions about technology lies our determination to protect people – from being radicalised and from being the victims of a terrorist attack.
“Our enemy is trying to weaponise vulnerable people in their homes. It is a war where the front line can be a screen in a young person’s bedroom or the mobile phone in their pocket.
“We must be united in our resolve to purge the internet of this poisonous and pernicious material. Today has been a significant step towards achieving that goal but there is more to do. Let’s work together to take terrorism offline.”
On a Facebook newsroom article it stated that the forum’s mission is to “substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to use the internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights. This disruption includes addressing the promotion of terrorism, dissemination of propaganda, and the exploitation of real-world terrorist events through online platforms.”