The online giants announced via a Facebook Newsroom post that they will create a shared industry database of what they described as “hashes,” or unique digital fingerprints of content they have removed from their respective services, in the hopes that the information sharing will help each of them to more effectively rid their platforms of such content:
Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services–content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies. Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database. Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions and remove matching content as appropriate.
As we continue to collaborate and share best practices, each company will independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database. No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube stressed that users’ privacy will be protected, as will their ability to “express themselves freely and safely,” adding that the companies will continue to engage with their respective communities on the best ways to move forward.
Readers: What are your thoughts on the anti-terrorist-content partnership between Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube?
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