As part of a White House meeting on preventing hate-motivated violence, major internet companies pledged on Thursday to take new actions to combat online extremism by eliminating more harmful content and encouraging media literacy among young users.
Critics have criticized platforms like Alphabet’s YouTube and Meta Platforms’ Facebook for years, claiming that the firms have let hate speech, misinformation, and violent language grow on their services.
YouTube said that it will broaden its anti-violent extremism policy to delete films that glorify violent crime, even if the makers of the videos have no connection to terrorist groups.
The video streaming service already forbids the encouragement of violence, but in at least some instances, it did not enforce the law when it came to recordings endorsing militia groups participating in the seizure of the US Capitol on January 6.
In a May study, the Tech Transparency Project discovered 435 pro-military videos on YouTube, 85 of which had been added after the raid on January 6. In several of the movies, training tips were provided, such as how to conduct guerilla-style ambushes.
A spokesperson for YouTube, Jack Malon, declined to comment on whether the service will modify its approach to such content in light of the new policy but noted that the move allows it to be more aggressive in its enforcement.
YouTube also said that it will start a media literacy program to educate younger users on how to recognize the tricks used to propagate false material.
Microsoft said that it will provide schools and smaller groups with a simple and more cost version of its artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to assist them in identifying and preventing violence.
Meta, the company that owns Facebook, just announced a collaboration with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism.
The senior executives of Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter Inc., and other businesses were questioned by Congress last year about whether their organizations had some blame for the attack on January 6.