UK Gov't Report: Facebook, Twitter, And Google Are Pretty Much Unrepentant Terrorist Supporters

from the a-raging-hate-on,-disguised-as-an-official-report dept

The internet is for porn terrorism.

That's according to a report by the UK's Home Ministry, which claims the medium is inseparable from the message, especially if it's a US tech company.

Facebook, Twitter and Google and are deliberately failing to stop terrorists from using their websites to promote terrorism because they believe it will "damage their brands", MPs have warned.

MPs warned that social media websites are becoming the "vehicle of choice" for spreading terrorist propaganda but websites are policing billions of accounts and messages with just a "few hundred" employees.

I'm pretty sure giving terrorists free rein is more "damaging" to "brands" than the current status quo. Sure, chasing terrorists off the internet is just another form of whack-a-mole, but it's not as though these companies aren't trying. Facebook's policing of content tends to lean towards overzealous. Twitter just removed over 200,000 terrorist-related accounts. And as for Google, it's busy bending over backward for everyone, from copyright holders to a few dozen misguided governments. But the internet -- including terrorists -- perceives censorship as damage and quickly routes around it.

The argument can be made (and it's a pretty good argument) that it might be more useful to have terrorists chatting on open platforms where they can easily be monitored, rather than pushing them towards "darker" communications methods. But it's tough to reason with lawmakers who find big corporations to be the easiest targets for their displeasure.

And, really, their complaints are nothing more than a cheap form of class warfare, one that tacitly asks millions of non-terrorist internet users to sympathize with a government seeking to gain more control over the platforms they use.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the committee, said: "Huge corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter, with their billion-dollar incomes, are consciously failing to tackle this threat and passing the buck by hiding behind their supranational legal status, despite knowing that their sites are being used by the instigators of terror."

That's what the MPs are really seeking: a way to carve off a slice of these billion-dollar incomes. Vaz fears the "Wild West" internet (one filled with Middle Eastern desperadoes, apparently…) because it's "ungoverned" and "unregulated." If both of those "problems" are fixed, he'll presumably be able to sleep better -- perhaps warmed by the flow of a new revenue stream or soothed by an expansion of his government's powers. Either way, these companies should have to shoulder the blame for terrorism's continued existence.

Some might make the argument that the government isn't doing enough to fight terrorism. After all, "billions" of dollars go towards this battle every year, and every year nothing appears to change.

The report points specifically to the supposedly "low" number of employees policing posted content.

"It is alarming that these companies have teams of only a few hundred employees to monitor networks of billions of accounts..."

Apparently, these billion-dollar companies are expected to move towards a 1:1 ratio of moderators to users. Vaz also claims these companies need to take a "no questions asked" attitude towards law enforcement demands to have content taken down. If so, perhaps the UK government should start hiring more law enforcement officers and move the needle more towards a 1:1 ratio of constables to internetizens… or at least a 1:1 ratio of constables to platform content moderators.

The report also points to various "failures" within the UK government, suggesting anti-terrorism laws just aren't quite strict enough. It notes that police have allowed alleged terrorists to leave the country while on bail because they haven't seized their passports. And an official from Scotland Yard asserts -- with wording that suggests the UK doesn't have quite enough restraints on speech yet -- that existing laws can't shut down the sort of thing the report complains that Google, Facebook, and Twitter aren't shutting down quickly enough: namely, posts by Anjem Choudary, a "hate preacher" who was convicted of supporting the Islamic State.

Richard Walton, the former head of Scotland Yard's counter terrorism command, today warns that existing British laws would not prevent preachers who followed Choudary's example and acting as "radicalisers".

Obviously, the answer is MORE LAWS. That should fix it. That and blaming tech companies for third-party content, something they already police about as well as they can, considering the number of users on their respective platforms. It's always handy to have a scapegoat to beat like the dead horse these arguments are, especially when the scapegoat can mixed-metaphorically be portrayed as fat cats electro-fiddling while social media burns.


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  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 7:29am

    Source, please

    "MPs warned that social media websites are becoming the 'vehicle of choice' for spreading terrorist propaganda..."

    Because MP's know ALL that cool stuff! What's hip-hop 'n' happenin' amongst the bearded elite of the world's terror communities. Not only are they not pathetically isolated from their own constituents, they know all the social media foibles of evildoers everywhere.

    Either that, or they read it in the tabloids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 8:11am

    The Solution and Reality

    World governments, in a cooperative effort to end terrorism, force operating system makers to add a mandatory boot up question. The question 'Are you a terrorist?' comes with three checkbox answers:

    1) Yes
    2) No
    3) I don't know

    Each of the responses has a different reaction. If yes is checked, the computer automatically turns on camera, microphone, gps and sends a copy of the information, a list of installed programs, passwords in clear text to the World Wide Consortium of Terrorist Watchers (and are searching for a cooler acronym). When received the monitoring personnel have three choices:

    A) Add the information to haystack as needle.
    B) Add the information to haystack as hay.
    C) Add the information to haystack as anomalous.

    Then they go for coffee.

    A second group, know for their unique investigative skills, use the information collected to find camera feeds that titillate their personal fantasies and watch for hours. When sufficiently stimulated, they go for coffee.

    When new terrorist attacks take place, everyone points to an encryption protocol that has not been used since the Napoleonic wars, and go for coffee.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 8:40am

    What they really wanted to say: the Internet is for terrorism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 29 Aug 2016 @ 8:55am

    I say get em at the source. All those damn supermarkets that wont stop feeding the terrorists. Something needs to be done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 30 Aug 2016 @ 6:05pm

      Re:

      The definition of 'deliberately failing' to stop terrorism these people are operating off of is insane.

      By their standards, succeeding at stopping terrorism would require the electronic equivalent of randomly firing hellfire missiles into downtown London -- no actual target, just random direction, trajectory and velocity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 29 Aug 2016 @ 9:00am

    "the "Wild West" internet"

    I am so fukin tired of hearing about that. If anything... the NSA and it's cohorts are the ones acting like it's a free-for-all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 9:04am

    "...despite knowing that their sites are being used by the instigators of terror."


    This is the vantablack pot calling the kettle black.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Howard II, 30 Aug 2016 @ 2:46am

      Re:

      vantablack

      This is going off on a tangent, but did TD ever cover the absurdity of only one artist in the UK being allowed to use vantablack?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 9:13am

    A 1:1 ratio of moderators to 'citizens'

    That sounds like the East German Stasi police. Half the population spying on the other half.

    Or like Orwell's 1984. How many people are there actually monitoring all the Telescreens*?

    * Telescreen: aka "smart TV" with built in web cam and mic that runs encrypted, signed binary blob firmware.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 9:18am

    > That's according to a report by the UK's Home Ministry, which claims the medium is inseparable from the message

    Consequently, an international arrest warrant has been issued for Marshall McLuhan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 29 Aug 2016 @ 10:10am

    fear mongering much MPs?

    And what makes any government think it can police the web better than an agile tech company? Sure the company won't be perfect but they will do a much better job than any government because they risk losing money if they don't respect non-terrorist's rights.

    A government can claim they will not abuse the power but we have already seen that argument fail a lot when it comes to technology and rights of citizens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 10:11am

    Terrorism...

    The governments go to clause for removing liberty in all forms.

    Government has visited and justified all manner of tyranny upon their people under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

    Every Nation gets the government it deserves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 10:11am

    History Repeats ... AGAIN!

    Anyone who was around in the early 2000s when P2P file sharing was at its peak might remember how it was routinely tied in with organized crime and international terrorism. Of course we all know now that it was just the usual bullshit demagoggery from Hollywood's agents in Congress, but apparently many people back then were drinking the Kool Aid. A US congressional committee was organized in 2003 to "warn" people about this dangerous connection:

    John G. Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice did say there seems to be some connection between illegal copying and organized crime, in that many of the groups profiting from illegal copies are highly organized and can have international distribution networks. Organized crime often supports terrorism, he suggested.

    "These groups will not hesitate to threaten or injure those who tend to interfere with their operations," Malcolm said.

    But when subcommittee chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, asked Malcolm for examples of cases where file trading was connected to terrorism, Malcolm said he couldn't give concrete examples . "It would surprise me greatly if the number were not large," Malcolm added


    [message in 2003: anyone downloading MP3s from Napster or KaZaA is supporting terrorism!]

    http://www.infoworld.com/article/2680602/networking/file-trading-may-fund-terrorism.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 10:42am

      Re: History Repeats ... AGAIN!

      The problem is that most politicians look to history as an example of what to do rather than what NOT to do. They see how people responded to rhetoric and use those same methods to get what they want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 11:36am

        Re: Re: History Repeats ... AGAIN!

        Well... the people just keep buying the lies of Bush, Clinton, and Obama.... so why the fuck not?

        Both the republicans and democrats are trying to destroy America along with the worthless "citizens" that keep voting these bastards in.

        Of course history will be repeated, we are BEGGING FOR IT!

        Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 10:47am

    They are not...

    They block those terrorists known as Conservatives and Republicans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 11:03am

    who the fuck has left the USA and gone over the pond to start these sort of scare-mongering stories?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 5:25pm

      Re:

      "who the fuck has left the USA and gone over the pond to start these sort of scare-mongering stories?"

      Unfortunately Vaz is a home-grown local idiot, always has been. he's one of those people you don't want to get between him and a camera/microphone.

      Early Methodists were considered a danger and a threat to society too. Just thought I'd mention that random fact.

      As for allowing suspected terrists to leave by not seizing their passports, I rather suspect that's a secret policy many would like. Let them go, but not back in. UK gov now has the power to revoke citizenship while the person is overseas, I believe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 11:03am

    This only shows the guy doesn't have a clue of what's happening, how these platforms work and where to place the guilt. And he is in a power position. Terrifying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2016 @ 12:20am

      Re:

      Oh he understands how the platforms work, and that unlike the traditional publishers and press, that the owners do NOT control what is published. That means he does not have a lever to moderate what is being said, and that is what he is after with this suggestion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 11:28am

    why not confiscate everything and put everyone into slavery to the state that would certainly solve any problems with free will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Idobek (profile), 29 Aug 2016 @ 1:19pm

    Legislature not Executive

    Select Committees are part of the legislature. Minor point as I'm sure the Home Office has an even worse opinion of social media - they're just not as grandstanding about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2016 @ 4:29pm

    When Google met wiki is telling book. When wiki called us state dept Google would call back with response.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    English Pedant, 30 Aug 2016 @ 3:53am

    Pedantry

    Not the "Home Ministry" (in the UK it's the Home Office), but the Home Affairs Select Committee:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Affairs_Select_Committee

    Keith Vaz, the committee's chair, is a notorious self-publicist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 4:48pm

    Facebook, Twitter and Google's policies are indeed overzealous. At the same time they claim to be shutting down known terrorist accounts, they shut down the accounts of people who criticize the religion of pieces on grounds of "hate speech" and "Islamphobia."

    The only reason people have died as a result of dank memes about Muhammad is because his irrational, psychotic cult followers went batsh*t all over the people who made them. A joke by itself kills no one. The problem is with the people who can't take it -- and their censorious, do-gooder enablers pretending to be playground monitors by giving the "bullies" detention.

    When actually, what they're really doing is punishing the bully's victims who laugh at him and call him out for the troglodyte he is. But the playground monitor fears that the bully will escalate his bullying to the point of another Columbine, so rather than deal with the bully, the playground monitor lets him have free rein over the whole playground by ordering his victims not to "provoke" him.

    In a sane world, the whole lot of them, and their sick, primitive, pedophile mass-murder cult, would be banned from sharing the same playground as us civilized folks who play nicely and don't mind harmless insults. But no, we're the bad guys for "punching down," a la South Park and Charlie Hebdo. Ahmed Qaboom is the real victim because those mean old colonialist bullies kept humiliating him by "whitesplaining" his special imaginary friend.

    Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Schmidt are as culpable in aiding and abetting Islamic terrorism as everyone in D.C. and the feckless Eurocrats who allow this pathology to fester in the name of kumbaya "multiculturalism." Face it: Islam is trash as are its believers, and either they get on board with the 21st century and free expression or go home, because none of them are worthy of the slightest iota of respect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2016 @ 4:23am

    While the uk/us and the like are unrepentant "terrorist" CREATORS

    Someone, somewhere, in a government owned building, is currently sticking their fingers in their ears while chanting

    'La, la-la, la-la'

    Actions have consequences, even at the level of what we call a government........to make an action, ignore the consequence, ignore, lie, and make even BIGGER the problems, by 'dealing' with the problem that WAS'NT there BEFORE the action you took YESTERDAY

    I say yesterday, because were not allowed to remember back further, so it seems

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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