Published in: Tackling Insurgent Ideologies in a Pandemic World, Observer Research Foundation & Global Policy Journal (August 2020), Saltman – Chapter 14 (pages 80 – 85). Full publication accessible here: https://bit.ly/30o6dfu
At Facebook, we rely on a combination of technology, people and partnerships with experts to help keep our platforms safe. Even as governments, companies and non-profits have battled terrorist propaganda online, we’ve faced a complex question over the best way to tackle a global challenge that can proliferate in different ways, across different parts of the web.
Often analysts and observers ask us at Facebook why, with our vast databases and advanced technology, we can’t just block nefarious activity using technology alone. The truth is that we also need people to do this work. And to be truly effective in stopping the spread of terrorist content across the entire internet, we need to join forces with others. Ultimately this is about finding the right balance between technology, human expertise and partnerships. technology helps us manage the scale and speed of online content. Human expertise is needed for nuanced understanding of how terrorism and violent extremism manifests around the world and track adversarial shifts. Partnerships allow us to see beyond trends on our own platform, better understand the interplay between online and offline, and build programmes with credible civil society organisations to support counterspeech at scale. Continue reading →
By Monika Bickert VP, Global Policy Management, and Dr. Erin Saltman, Head of Counterterrorism & Dangerous Organizations Policy; Europe, the Middle East and Africa
A Recap of Facebook’s Year as Chair of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism
In the summer of 2017, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube came together to form the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). Since then, the organization has grown, with nine technology companies working together to disrupt terrorists’ and violent extremists’ abilities to promote themselves, share propaganda and exploit digital platforms to glorify real-world acts of violence. This year, we made significant progress in our work, but we also faced new challenges. New threats emerged in how terrorists and violent extremists seek to exploit and abuse digital platforms, and we adapted our efforts to combat and prevent them.
This weeks episode of the Talking Terror podcast, hosted by Dr John F Morrison from the School of Law, is an interview with Erin Saltman discussing how Facebook approaches counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.
Davey, Saltman and Birdwell (2018), “The Mainstreaming of Far-Right Extremism Online and How to Counter It: A Case Study on UK, US and French Elections” in Trumping the Mainstream: The Conquest of Democratic Politics by the Populist Radical Right, Herman & Muldoon (eds), (Routledge, London).
This chapter analyses the scale and nature of online ‘information operations’ by ‘far-right’ and ‘extreme-right’ online activists across three elections: the 2016 UK Referendum on EU Membership, the 2016 US national elections and the 2017 French national elections. We define information operations as coordinated attempts to influence domestic or foreign political sentiment. By using online social listening tools, this chapter questions to what extent information operations were intensified or scaled up across these three elections; the extent to which efforts were coordinated internationally; and maps tactics used to ‘mainstream’ specific far-right ideologies targeted at average voters. The chapter concludes by analysing ways that governments, industries and civil society are tackling this challenge to various ends.
Originally Published by Jerusalem Post 4 April 2018. By Yonah Jeremy Bob with original linked here.
These are not easy times at Facebook as it faces criticism over the Cambridge Analytica saga and about Russia using the social-media giant to sway public opinion during the 2016 US elections. But there is at least one area where Facebook had faced heavy criticism in the past – from Israel and much of the organized Jewish community – where it seems to have turned the tide.
Violent extremist groups and terrorist organizations destabilize civil society and cause devastation globally. Current trends have led many people to not just fear these networks, but also to question why individuals join violent, hate-based groups. This TED talk looks at the push and pull factors drawing people into these organizations, and discusses new ways of preventing and countering processes of radicalization through innovation and creativity.
Originally Published by BBC News 22 July 2016. Original linked here.
In the aftermath of the recent mass killings by lone attackers in Orlando and Nice, more details have come to light about the attackers’ histories and identities. Both attackers had track records of domestic violence, records of depression and questions around their sexual identities.
As the Islamic State group (IS) continues to stake claim on exported attacks on the West, it has also disseminated a range of identity politics and gender norms.The message is less about empowering individuals through religion, and more about attracting insecure and threatened individuals with a psychological need for control and simple answers. Continue reading →
Episode two of Newsweek’s Foreign Service podcast asks how governments can prevent erratic and unpredictable attacks by so-called “lone wolf” terrorists. Published 21 July 2016. Link to Newsweek Foreign Service Podcast here.
Gavin Long, the man who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday, had past links with radical groups. But in politically charged Youtube videos infused with violent rhetoric, he insisted he acted alone. In Nice, where Mohamed Bouhlel killed at least 64 people and wounded dozens more with a truck, the Islamic State Militant Group (ISIS) took credit for the carnage. But Bouhlel’s links with the group are unclear, and likely indirect.
So how do you prepare for attacks that come without warning or large-scale planning? Do we now live in a world where any angry, isolated person who comes across the right messages can become a terrorist? Or, with the right knowledge, can governments and security services separate genuine dangers from false alarms, and turn those most at risk of perpetrating appalling crimes back from the brink?
Over the last several months, ISD’s Youth Civil Activism Network (YouthCAN) has made a concerted effort to reach out to young activists and garner important feedback regarding the UN Plan of Action (PoA) and Resolution 2250 in relation to specific national and regional contexts. The YouthCAN UN PVE Survey was distributed to young activists between April – June 2016 and contained 25 questions addressing key elements of the UN PoA and Resolution 2250. The survey was distributed online to the YouthCAN network, as well as a range of international youth networks.
This report was launched at a United Nations side event 1 July 2016 and presents the findings from the YouthCAN UN PVE Survey in order to bridge the gap between international policymakers and the expressed needs and concerns of young activists. The full policy report can be found here.
The following publication discusses the development, implementation and evaluation of Youth Innovation Labs. Labs are immersive, activist-led events that create a secure environment to facilitate capacity-building while giving participants the contacts, tools and resources needed to develop strategic campaigns for preventing and countering violent extremism. The purpose of this publication is to share the methodology and structure thatYouthCAN has developed, as well as the best-practices and outcomes from YouthCAN’s work with young activists and creatives.