Facebook launches anti-extremism initiative in UK

Sheryl Sandberg will launch the initiative this morning
Sheryl Sandberg will launch the initiative this morning

Facebook has launched its counterspeech program to tackle online extremism and hate speech in the UK, more than a year after it was launched in other European countries.

In partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the OCCI will commit financial and marketing support to UK NGOs and community groups who work to counter online extremism and bring together experts to develop best practice and tools for people to engage in counter speech.

The organisation will also provide training to help NGO members monitor and respond to extremist content; a dedicated support desk that connects them directly with Facebook; and will aid best practice sharing among NGOs, government and other online services. 

"The recent terror attacks in London and Manchester – like violence anywhere – are absolutely heartbreaking. No one should have to live in fear of terrorism – and we all have a part to play in stopping violent extremism from spreading," Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook´s chief operating officer, said.

There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook, she continued. "We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform. Partnerships with others — including tech companies, civil society, researchers and governments — are also a crucial piece of the puzzle."

Sasha Havlicek, chief executive, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, commented that the OCCI provides a unique machine that combines technology with expertise to upscale civic response tot his challenge. 

"Together, we can build a proportional and effective response to the increasingly sophisticated online strategies of the extremists," she said. 

The launch of OCCI in the UK follows launches in Germany in January 2016 and in France in March 2017. 

This follows an accusation in March by the Commons Home Affairs Committee that Facebook, Google and Twitter for have failed to act on hate speech.

Facebook launches new ten-year mission

At Facebook's first Community Summit in Chicago, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new ten-year mission for Facebook: Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

The event was attended by hundreds of Facebook group admins who were told they were an important part of Facebook's new strategy. 

According to a post by Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's vice-president of engineering, more than a billion people in the world use Groups. And for 100 million of them, their groups are the most important part of their experience on Facebook. 

"Today we’re setting a goal to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities like these," Jin wrote. 

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