Workshop hosted by Tech Against Terrorism, Meta and GIFCT to examine regional trends in terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet.

Over 100 participants from the tech sector, governments, civil society and academia convened on 17 May 2023 in Singapore to understand, debate and share best practise in the fight against online terrorism.

The day-long forum was part of a series of global workshops organised by Tech Against Terrorism and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). These forums aim to engage local tech platforms and experts to ensure that the global response is adapted to regional threats. The Singapore workshop was hosted by Meta.

Understanding the threat

Participants at the Singapore workshop heard from experts emphasising the need for regionally tailored strategies. This involved emphasis on building evidence-based responses that considered local languages and dynamics, and the impact of transnational ideologies.

The workshop explored the growing challenges faced by content moderation. One particular area of concern is the delineation between hate speech and violent extremist content. Participants discussed the importance of  human rights safeguards in using automated detection methods, to ensure that online counterterrorism efforts do not negatively impact human rights.  

Tooling up to counter terrorism and violent extremism online

Tech Against Terrorism also warned of the risk of defunding counterterrorism and violent extremism programmes and called for a cross sector support model in this crucial area of content moderation. Supported by the United Nations Counter Terrorism Directorate (CTED), Tech Against Terrorism is one example of a public-private partnership brokering achievable goals to tackle terrorism online.

Tech Against Terrorism, GIFCT and Meta all gave an overview of the automated tools they have made available for tech platforms to support coordinated efforts in countering terrorism. Through Tech Against Terrorism’s Terrorism Content Analytics Platform, tech companies are encouraged to take down alerted terrorist and violent extremist content found on their platforms. GIFCT’s hash sharing database, and Meta’s Hasher Matcher Actioner are also technical solutions in identifying terrorist content online.

Looking forward, Adam Hadley, Executive Director of Tech Against Terrorism, discussed the opportunities for using Generative AI in terrorist content identification. After taking crucial steps to safeguard human rights, privacy and transparency, tech platforms could benefit from Generative AI more than terrorists as they have a wider dataset to use to refine AI outputs.

Building tech platform capacity

These workshops are an important component of Tech Against Terrorism’s mentorship programme, enabling tech companies to build their counterterrorism framework. Tech Against Terrorism’s ran a dedicated session at the Singapore workshop to allow tech companies themselves to discuss the challenges they face in countering terrorist and violent extremist content.

Experts and policymakers shared best practices to correctly identifying terrorise content and respond to TVE tactics to bypass moderation by modifying content. Tech Against Terrorism also shared its insight into navigating the global and regional regulatory landscape. Further information about Tech Against Terrorism’s Mentorship programme here.