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May 02, 2019

Thompson, Rose: Social Media Companies Must be Transparent About Efforts to Counter Terrorism

Twitter, YouTube failed to provide requested info on fighting terrorist content, Facebook did not respond

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, released the below statement on the status of a letter the subcommittee sent to members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft – requesting their budgets to prevent the spread of online content from terrorists and extremists. 

The request was initiated when, at a March Congressional briefing with the companies following the New Zealand domestic terrorism attack, no company was able to describe the resources dedicated to counter terrorism and extremism on their platforms. 

Unfortunately, no company answered the request from Congress properly or fully and Facebook has yet to respond. 

“The fact that some of the largest corporations in the world are unable to tell us what they are specifically doing to stop terrorist and extremist content is not acceptable. Domestic terrorism is on the rise both here and abroad, and of all forms of terrorism and extremism are increasingly turning to these social media platforms to proliferate their message and spread their violent, hateful content. As we saw in New Zealand, Facebook failed and admitted as much. With these platforms becoming more and more ubiquitous in peoples’ lives, these companies have an obligation to Americans to ensure – and prove – they are doing everything possible to stop the spread of this vile content.

“When it comes to our national security – and keeping Americans safe from hate and terrorism – broad platitudes and vague explanations of safety procedures aren’t enough. We need a full accounting of what is being done.”

Link to Letter from Twitter

Link to Letter from YouTube

Link to Letter from Facebook

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Media contacts:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Rose) Jonas Edwards-Jenks at 202-225-3371