Facebook launches the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) to combat online extremism

Postado Junho 24, 2017

The Jo Cox Foundation is a founding member of the initiative in the United Kingdom, as are other anti-hate groups from the Jewish and Muslim communities.

A new joint-initiative, which aims to tackle online extremism and hate speech in the United Kingdom, has been launched by Facebook.

"The company said in a statement that it's launching the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) in the United Kingdom, providing support for the country's nongovernmental organizations to research and combat terrorist content online". "Partnerships with others - including tech companies, civil society, researchers and governments - are a crucial piece of the puzzle".

The launch of the initiative in the United Kingdom also comes a week after Facebook announced new measures to counter terrorism, which included a combination of human expertise and artificial intelligence techniques to root out fake accounts, problematic language, propaganda and terrorist clusters.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, will reveal the details of the plan in London alongside Brendan Cox, the husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox.

A spokesperson from Facebook said: 'The launch of OCCI in the United Kingdom follows successful launches in Germany in January 2016 and in France in March 2017. A spokesman said: "We have called on industry to take more action on the issue and welcome this new initiative from Facebook to provide support to other organisations in tackling terrorist and extremist material".

Facebook's knee-jerk reaction was to defend its practices, however, it has since introduced a number of measures to help counter extremist content. Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram were both updated last week, with user data now being more widely shared to keep terrorist content off the platforms. Although they're removed swiftly, the company was much slower to take down content flagged as extremist when some advertisers pulled their advertising because it was being displayed alongside such content.

The OCCI is a counterspeech programme, which means it encourages people to speak out against violence and extremism.

Through these steps Facebook wants to tackle extremism. Anything that helps push the extremists even further to the margins is greatly welcome. Now it is important by all social media networks to control extremism and hate speech spreading through their platform. Through the use of image matching, the neural networks behind their AI actively scan photos and videos to ensure they don't match the content of previously posted terrorist media; a similar algorithm is employed for language to identify propaganda and praise of terrorism.