Webinar Alert

We have opened registration for our upcoming webinar, “The Nexus Between Violent Extremism and Conspiracy Theory Networks Online”, which will be held on 17 March at 5pm GMT. This webinar features as a part of our TAT & GIFCT E-Learning Webinar Series. Please register here.

Agenda

  • Erin Saltman, Director of Programming, GIFCT

  • Emily Thompson, Associate Director, Research Department, Simon Wiesenthal Center

  • Sam Jackson, Assistant Professor at the University at Albany and author of Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group

  • Marc-André Argentino, PhD Candidate at Concordia University, Research Fellow at the ICSR

  • Patrick James, Facebook, Dangerous Organizations Policy

  • Moderator: Fabienne Tarrant, Research Analyst, Tech Against Terrorism

 The Terrorist Content Analytics Platform

  • In February, the TCAP ingested 2,105 URLs containing terrorist content and sent 1,102 alerts to 28 tech companies. 83% of the alerted terrorist content is now offline.
     
  • We released our February TCAP Newsletter, which can be found here.
     
  • We would like to thank those of you who attended the February sessions of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP) Office Hours for your questions and feedback. If you were unable to attend our office hours but would like an update on our development of the platform, please register here

Stakeholder Processes

  • In February, Tech Against Terrorism proudly announced that Airbnb, Eventbrite, and Vimeo are joining us as members.  Airbnb has released a statement on their new membership, which you can read here.
     
  • Tech Against Terrorism published a response to the open consultation regarding the Government of Australia’s Online Safety Bill. Read our full response here.
     
  • We also published a position paper on content personalisation and terrorist use of the internet, in which we argue that whilst algorithmic recommendation systems warrant scrutiny policy-makers should prioritise other actions – including improving designation and supporting smaller platforms – in order to tackle terrorism online. Read our paper here.
     
  • The United Nations released its 12th report on the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) to international peace and security. In the report, Tech Against Terrorism’s Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP) is highlighted as an effective tool to counter the dissemination of online IS content.

Media coverage

  • Our Director, Adam Hadley, wrote an Op-Ed for The Times in which he argued that the UK’s Online Harms framework is unlikely to help counter terrorist use of the internet and risks undermining key democratic principles like the rule of law and freedom of expression.
     
  • Our research was cited in a Guardian piece on how the violent far-right attempts to appeal to teenagers by exploiting youth culture. Adam Hadley was quoted in the article stating that “every day we are seeing far-right violent extremist and terrorist groups exploit youth culture, not only to evade content moderation, but also to radicalise young people themselves”. Read the full article here.

What’s up next? 

  • Stay tuned for more information on our upcoming webinar “Technical approaches to countering terrorist use of the internet: URLs sharing and tech sector’s collaborative efforts”, which will take place on 31 March (TBC). 

  • The TCAP Office Hours will soon open registration for our March sessions. If you have any feedback or questions, please watch our Twitter and Website for an invitation.

Tech Against Terrorism Reader’s Digest – 5 March

Our weekly review of articles on terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet, counterterrorism, digital rights, and tech policy.


Top stories

  • A Canadian self-proclaimed incel who killed 10 people in a van attack in Toronto in April 2018 has been convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in a hearing this week.  It marked the first time that a country had pursued terrorism charges against an adherent to the incel movement.

    To learn more about this attacker and the incel ideology, check out our podcast on Incels, online misogyny and whether we should consider incel attacks as gender-based terrorism. You can listen to the podcast here.
     
  • TikTok has announced the launch of a “Safety Advisory Council” for Europe — a body that will help the platform deal with content moderation
     
  • George Washington University’s Program on Extremism has published a report titled “This is Our House!” A Preliminary Assessment of the Capitol Hill Siege Participants, which aims to provide a preliminary assessment of the siege participants.
     
  • Twitch has released its first-ever transparency report. You can read more about the report in this WIRED article here.
     
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), with support from Jigsaw, has published key findings of a study on the global prevalence of online misogyny. 
     
  • Freedom House has published its latest report Freedom in the World 2021: Democracy under Siege, which marks the 15th consecutive year of global democratic decline and highlights that less than a fifth of the world’s population is living in Free countries.
     
  • Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) has published a paper setting out a four-part approach to human rights and content governance – content policy, content policy implementation, product development, and tracking and transparency –, based on a combination of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the various human rights principles, standards, and methodologies upon which the UNGPs were built.

Far-right violent extremism and terrorism

  • Far-Right Groups Are Splintering in Wake of the Capitol Riot: In this piece, Neil MacFarquhar argues how the breakdown of larger organisations following the Capitol riot has “set the stage for small groups or lone offenders, who are more difficult to track”. MacFarquhar notes that eight weeks after the Capitol riot, some of the most prominent groups that participated are fracturing amid the pressure and arrests that has followed. He writes that this fallout will determine the future of some of the most high-profile violent far-right organisations and that as some members of the violent far right leave more established groups, it may become even more difficult to track extremists who are pushed underground and have become more emboldened to carry out violent attacks. (MacFarquhar, New York Times, 01.03.2021).

Islamist Terrorism

  • Boko Haram Teams up with Bandits in Nigeria: In this piece, Malik Samuel discusses how ongoing research by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), shows that Boko Haram participated in the December 2020 mass abduction of more than 300 school boys in Katsina State, north-west Nigeria, and that the link between the group and the bandits in Nigeria pre-dated the incident. Samuel sheds light on how Boko Haram, particularly under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau, has innvested in expanding its base beyond Nigeria’s north-east, and, that the country’s north-west and north-central regions are increasingly becoming the group’s areas of choice due to deteriorating security and other conditions there. Samuel additionally discusses the numerous reasons for Boko Haram’s ventures into the north-west and north-central areas, which include the aim to create a diversion, as well as recruitment and financial gains from ransom payments and other activities like illegal gold mining. (Samuel, Institute for Security Studies, 03.03.2021).

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