THE TECH AGAINST TERRORISM MENTORSHIP 2018 – 2020
Interested in joining the Tech Against Terrorism Mentorship? You can reach out at [email protected]
Since 2018, Tech Against Terrorism has mentored 25 tech platforms to help them tackle terrorist use of their platforms whilst respecting human rights and freedom of speech. Our mentorship programme also supports tech platforms in strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms around their content moderation.
|These platforms are representatives of the broader tech ecosystem: from small platforms run by a single person to larger tech platforms. They also represent a diverse range of online services, from social-media and video-sharing services to “sharing-economy” platforms, and each have their own content moderation approach.||Our mentees all face different threats in terms of terrorist and violent extremist (T/VE) groups attempting to exploit their services. All have demonstrated their willingness to counter terrorist and violent extremist use of their services whilst increasing transparency and accountability towards their users.|
Tech Against Terrorism Mentorship – Representing the broader tech sector:
Social media / blogging: 8 mentees
Audio / video sharing: 5 mentees
Communication services: 3 mentees
Web hosting / infrastructure: 2 mentees
File-hosting / sharing: 2 mentees
Marketing services: 2 mentees
Sharing economy / Marketplace: 2 mentees
Pasting sites: 1 mentee
TAT Mentorship 2018 – 2021: Our mentees’ achievements so far
TAT MENTORSHIP – THE CORE OF OUR POLICY SUPPORT WORK
The mentorship programme sits at the core of Tech Against Terrorism’s policy support work, helping tech companies in improving and future-proofing their policies. We also assist tech companies in developing the necessary process and mechanisms to enforce their policies. All platforms engaged in the mentorship programme benefit from Tech Against Terrorism’s expertise on counterterrorism and tech policy, and we strive to ensure that our support is as tailored as possible to a platform’s specificities and the threat of terrorist and violent extremist exploitation faced.
In-depth policy review
As a first step in the mentorship process, we conduct an in-depth review of the platform’s content standards, highlighting their areas of strength and outlining where there is room for improvement. We examine all publicly available company policies relating to content moderation and counterterrorism. This review allows us to get a precise understanding of a platform’s approach to online moderation, and ensures that we can provide bespoke support.
Bespoke policy recommendations
Based on the policy review and informed by our expertise and research, we provide bespoke policy recommendations for all of our mentees. These recommendations focus on ensuring that platforms have policies in place to adequately counter terrorist and violent extremist exploitation of their services. Our recommendations also aim to ensure that policies are operationalisable and adapted to the threat each platform faces.
Our key recommendations are based on the following principles:
Transparency & accountability
Our support programme is underpinned by our commitment increase to meaningful transparency and accountability from the tech sector. We focus on helping platforms drafting clear and precise policies and content moderation rules for users to know what is expected of them and what the platform is doing to ensure safety on its services.
All of our policy reviews also include a section dedicated to transparency and transparency reports. We assess and provide recommendations on a platforms’ general transparency efforts and, for mentees who have already published a transparency report, we conduct a complete assessment of the most recent transparency reports available.
Tech Against Terrorism has notably supported JustPaste.it and Ask.fm in publishing their first transparency reports.
“For smallest platforms with limited resources it is crucial to be time-efficient in all of their actions. Creating a first transparency report may be much easier when done with help from experienced specialists. TaT was able to provide answers to all questions regarding what should be included in such a report having in mind platform-specific requirements and how to present them to the users in a clear way. Platform can then focus on actual numbers extraction and content of the transparency report, without doing extensive research first.”
– Mariusz Żurawek, Founder & Owner, JustPaste.it
“Tech Against Terrorism has mentored ASKfm in our research every step of the way, providing invaluable collaboration in creating our first Transparency report. We believe in the importance of reporting to our users’ confidence in the security of our platform.”
– Viktoria Moroz, Head of Moderation, ASKfm
Providing support beyond policy recommendations
Our policy support extends beyond policy recommendations to ensure that platforms have the necessary tools to implement them. We provide mentees with various resources on policy best practices, and support with reviewing and advising on policy updates.
Our mentorship programme sits at the core of our knowledge sharing activities. Tech Against Terrorism works with a broad range of stakeholders to build on our understanding of the threat and evolving counterterrorism practices. The different insights and best practice we gather from our extensive networks are used to inform our policy and practical support to tech companies.
Knowledge Sharing Platform (KSP): The KSP is a collection of interactive tools and resources designed to support the operational needs of smaller tech platforms. It is a “one stop shop” for companies to access practical resources to support their counterterrorism and transparency efforts. Our resources include research and analysis on terrorist use of the internet, such as the threat landscape and proscribed organisations, on global online regulation, as well as guidelines and recommendations on content standards and transparency reporting.
All of our mentees can benefit from privileged access to our different knowledge-sharing activities. Including our e-learning webinar series in collaboration with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), and Tech Against Terrorism’s own resources on countering terrorist use of the internet and understanding the threat.
Terrorist and violent extremist content alerts
Mentees are alerted of content affiliated with designated terrorist groups located on their services via our Terrorist Content Analytics Platform. We also alert of violent extremist content located by email, and can provide background information on terrorist use of the internet and specific groups upon requests.
OSINT monitoring and intelligence briefs
All of our mentees benefit from our open-source intelligence (OSINT) capacity. Each mentee receives a bespoke intelligence brief providing an overview of the terrorist and violent extremist threat to its platform. Our analysis of the terrorist and violent extremist online landscape also informs our understanding of the threat and support to platforms.
Continuous support and engagement with our mentees
Throughout the mentorship and membership process we strive to provide regular support to our mentees. Each mentee has a dedicated TAT point of contact responsible for overseeing the mentorship process and responding to any questions that might arise regarding the mentorship process or terrorist use of the internet generally. We also organise regular catch-up calls to ensure that we are aware of any challenges that might arise for our mentees.
TAT MENTORSHIP – A PATH TOWARS DUAL MEMBERSHIP
Our mentorship programme partially supports the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), and is designed to assist tech companies in meeting the TAT and GIFCT Memberships criteria. Throughout the mentorship process, we assist tech platforms in updating their policies and processes to meet the TAT and GIFCT membership requirements.
The Tech Against Terrorism Membership: Launched in 2017, the Tech Against Terrorism Membership is aimed at sharing best practice with tech platforms to help them build capacity in tackling terrorist exploitation. This provides ongoing support following the mentorship process to ensure that we can continue assisting platforms as the threat landscape evolves. Our Membership scheme is aimed at facilitating constructive working relationships built on trust with the global tech sector. The Tech Against Terrorism initiative is global and covers all technology that risks being exploited by terrorism and violent extremists. Our Membership is inclusive and we welcome tech companies of any size, region, technology, or service, offering to apply to become a member.
The GIFCT Membership: The GIFCT is an NGO designed to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms. Founded by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube as an industry coalition in 2017, and becoming an independent organisation in 2020, the Forum was established to foster technical collaboration among member companies, advance relevant research, and share knowledge with smaller platforms. The GIFCT launched its membership in 2019 based on the TAT membership criteria. Tech Against Terrorism has been providing mentorship services for GIFCT applicants since.
 It should be noted that this is not a comprehensive list and has been deliberately created as a small scope specifically for the TCAP.
 Tech Against Terrorism members receive such briefs twice a year (or more depending on the threat). Members also receive OSINT Updates every two months, providing an overview of the global terrorist and violent extremist online landscape.
Interested in joining the Tech Against Terrorism Mentorship? You can reach out at [email protected]“