Facebook and Google will testify to Senate over terrorist content

Politicians want to know what internet firms are doing to fight extremism.

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Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

It's not just European countries who aren't satisfied with internet giants' ability to curb online terrorist content. The US Senate has summoned Facebook, Google (or rather, Alphabet) and Twitter to testify at a January 17th Commerce Committee hearing that will "examine the steps" social networks have been taking to fight the spread of online extremist material. All three have agreed to testify and will send their policy leaders. We've asked them if they can comment on the upcoming testimony and will let you know if they can hint at what they'll say.

There's no doubt that the companies have been taking at least some steps to boot extremists from their platforms, such as AI algorithms and more aggressive content bans. Congress' worry, as you might guess, is that tech firms could be doing better -- that propaganda is slipping through the cracks at an unnecessarily high rate.

Whether or not it is, there's a chance that the companies may face pressure to talk about their ability to combat other destructive material, whether it's hate speech, abuse or Russian influence campaigns. They've already discussed some of this before, but they may be put on the spot by senators looking for any area where Facebook, Google and Twitter might fall short.

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