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April 11, 2019

Rep. Max Rose Calls for Counterterrorism Budgets from Social Media Companies

Subcommittee Chairman seeks to see if tech companies are prioritizing efforts to combat online terrorist content

(WASHINGTON) Congressman Max Rose and fellow Democrats on the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, which he chairs, are requesting details on the investments that members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism are making to prevent the exploitation of their platforms by terrorists and extremists. The request follows a March 27th briefing in which Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft were unable to answer questions about resource allocation dedicated to these efforts.

“We’ve seen in graphic detail the extent that terrorist organizations and extremists have used social media to amplify their reach and message in recent years,” said Rose, Chair of the Homeland Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism. “While social media companies tell us they’re taking this seriously, I want to see the numbers to back that up—and won’t stop until we get answers.”

The Subcommittee, led by Rose, is seeking each company’s annual budget for counterterrorism related programs, the number of personnel working solely on those programs, and the number of staff who specialize in far-right extremism as well as foreign terrorist organizations and other forms of extremism.

“As you all know, a budget is a statement of values,” wrote Rose and the Subcommittee Democrats. “We believe that the level of resources your companies allocate to containing and combating online terrorist content is a reflection of the seriousness with which you are approaching the issue. As such, we respectfully request information regarding the value you place on your counterterrorism programs.”

Terrorist groups have used social media in sophisticated ways to spread their ideologies and recruit new members across the world. From the rise and spread of ISIS, to the recent attack in Christchurch, New Zealand which was livestreamed live on Facebook, serious questions remain as to how and what the companies are doing to combat the spread of terrorism and extremism.

Full text of letter HERE.


Media Contact: Jonas Edwards-Jenks  202-225-3371