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Social media should be used to implement counter-terrorist techniques, Marlene Mizzi says

MEP Marlene Mizzi outlined regional frameworks and cooperation with IT companies to minimise the reach and effects of such organisations

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
13 January 2017, 10:18am
Social media and internet should be used to implement counter-terrorist techniques that can aid in maintaining public safety - Marlene Mizzi
Social media and internet should be used to implement counter-terrorist techniques that can aid in maintaining public safety - Marlene Mizzi
Identifying social media and the internet as primary tools used by terrorist organisations, MEP Marlene Mizzi outlined regional frameworks and cooperation with IT companies to minimise the reach and effects of such organisations.

During an exchange of views with Google and Facebook on “Social media, the internet and counter-terrorism”, hosted by Digital Europe Working Group, Mizzi held a debate on the challenges of ensuring that the internet and social media are not used as a platform for terrorists’ propaganda and online hate speech.

“Avenues for radicalisation and the risks of domestic terrorism in Europe are growing with the spread of global terrorist networks using online platforms and messengers, such as Twitter or Facebook, for terrorist propaganda and communication,” Mizzi said. “Their dependence on social networks suggests that without the internet and social media, terrorists organisations would not be able to spread their message virally.”

Mizzi said that social media and internet should be used to implement counter-terrorist techniques that can aid in maintaining public safety. These tools, she said, can be used to prevent terrorism, protecting the public from it and pursuing its perpetrators.

One such strategy is the recently announced Code of Conduct on Illegal Online Hate Speech and Internet Forum, through which private companies have agreed, together with the European Commission, to remove content which they consider illegal from the internet.

Noting that such initiatives seem like a good idea, Mizzi questioned how far private companies can go against the backdrop of radically changing technology and public attitudes towards surveillance, fundamental rights and law enforcement.

Mizzi suggested a regional framework and cooperation between IT companies and authorities as part of counter-terrorism efforts.

“A strong regulatory framework at European level can help constrain the use of internet by jihadi organisations, strengthen de-radicalisation efforts, and limit their access to funding,” she said. "Furthermore, once the online platforms and companies spot an illegal terrorist content, they must immediately flag it to the responsible national and European authorities for further investigation."