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YouTube, Meta, other tech companies taking steps to combat online extremism

·2 min read

Several major tech companies committed to taking steps to combat online extremism on Thursday as part of the White House's United We Stand summit.

Announcing a new administration initiative on hate-motivated violence, President Biden called on Congress to "hold social media platforms accountable for spreading hate and fueled violence."

"And I’m calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements on all of them," he said in remarks.

YouTube, Twitch, Microsoft and Meta all announced new actions to prevent hate-fueled violence.

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YouTube is expanding its policies by removing content glorifying violent acts for the purpose of inspiring others to commit harm, fundraise or recruit – even if the creators of such content are not related to a designated terrorist group.

The video-sharing platform also committed to launching an educational media literacy campaign to assist younger users in particular in identifying manipulation tactics used to spread misinformation.

That campaign will launch in the U.S. before expanding to other countries.

YouTube will also support the McCain Institute and EdVenture Partners’ Invent2Prevent program with ongoing funding and training. The program challenges college students to develop their own dynamic products, tools or initiatives to prevent targeted violence and terrorism.

Earlier this year, more than 80 fact-checking organizations called on YouTube to address what they said was rampant misinformation on the platform.

YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez told The Associated Press then that the company has "invested heavily in policies and products in all countries we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos."

She called fact-checking "a crucial tool to help viewers make their own informed decisions," but added that it is "one piece of a much larger puzzle to address the spread of misinformation."

Twitch is releasing a tool that empowers its streamers and their communities to help counter hate and harassment and further individualize the safety experience of their channels.

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The platform will also launch new community education initiatives on topics including identifying harmful misinformation and deterring hateful violence.

In addition, Microsoft is expanding its application of violence detection and prevention artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools and using gaming to build empathy.

Meta has partnered with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies’ Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism to analyze trends in violent extremism and tools to combat it.

The social media giant will also partner with Search For Common Ground to provide training and workshops to equip community-based partners to counter hate-fueled violence.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.