Facebook Needs ‘To Be A Hostile Environment For Terrorists,’ Exec Says


Facebook furthered its promises to “aggressively” fight against terrorism Sunday as U.K politicians continue calling for new regulations over the internet.

The tech conglomerate wants to “provide a service where people feel safe,” said Simon Milner, director of policy at Facebook, according to CNBC. “That means we do not allow groups or people that engage in terrorist activity, or posts that express support for terrorism. We want Facebook to be a hostile environment for terrorists.”

Facebook announced in May that it was hiring 3,000 additional employees who were tasked primarily with purging violent, hateful, or criminal content and communications from the platform. The tech company is trying to show that it is serious and effective when it comes to combatting terrorists’ use of its platform without government intervention or force.

“Using a combination of technology and human review, we work aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it,” Milner continued. “We have long collaborated with policymakers, civil society, and others in the tech industry, and we are committed to continuing this important work.”

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The social media company presumably felt compelled to address the London Bridge terrorist attacks that reportedly left at least seven people dead and 48 injured, because Prime Minister Theresa May recently reiterated the oft-professed worries over terrorists using the internet for their endeavors.

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide,” May said Sunday morning, according to The Independent. “We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.”

May’s criticisms of the internet, specifically evildoers’ application of it and social media platforms, are fairly common, particularly in the U.K.

Amber Rudd, Britain’s home secretary, said during an interview in March that intelligence agencies in the country should have access to messages on WhatsApp, one of the premier messaging platforms that is owned by Facebook and employs encryption capabilities. Rudd’s call for a special backdoor to end-to-end encryption (a mechanism that essentially locks information and obstructs unauthorized access) came right after a 52-year-old man drove a car into several people on Westminister Bridge, killing five people and injuring more than 40.

The interviewer, however, points out that her appeal for a “system” where law enforcement can acquire encrypted communications without a warrant is inherently discordant, or at least “incompatible” with the technology.

Along with the desires for a purportedly exclusive backdoor to encryption, British officials have been considering other legislation that appear to be a government takeover of the internet.

A draft of a proposed new surveillance law leaked in May shows that many within the British government want the power to force internet service providers (ISPs) to give up people’s communications in real time. Colloquially known as the “snoopers’ charter,” The Investigatory Powers Bill passed under the Conservative Party in November but has yet to be enforced.

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