Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Social Networking Sites Intensify Efforts Against Online Propaganda Movements

Social networking sites are facing pressure on helping eradicate acts of terrorism

(Photo : Getty Images) Social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube are under pressure to block the accounts of terrorist suspects and extremists.

Social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+ are intensifying efforts to fight against online propaganda and the enlistment of new recruits by militant groups. However, the social media sites are participating carefully and discreetly.

This past Thursday, Facebook admitted to have taken down a profile that they highly suspect belongs to one of the two people behind the mass shooting that slayed 14 people in San Bernardino, California. The company's representative said that the suspect defied the policy by posting photos or videos exalting terrorism and violence. Tashfeen Malik, the suspect, has made undisclosed posts during the horrific incident.

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The initiative follows public pressure on networking companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to discern and remove profiles and contents related to propaganda movements. In fact, the French prime minister and European Commission officials have separately met with these companies to appeal for a faster action against what they call "online terrorism incitement and hate speech."

The companies, however, insist that they are firm and strongly abide in their policies. While the account of anyone that goes against the company's terms of service can be subjected to blocking, any further action needs to be backed by court orders. Nevertheless, other members who see fellow user's post offensive images or text can flag or report the content for review and possibly removal.

This may sound easy, but this actually gives social media companies a hard time making decisions. Experts are worried that users might think they are now actually a tool of the government. And if the militant groups start to learn their screening process, they could probably outsmart their system.

"When it comes to terrorist content, it's certainly a tricky position for companies, and one that I don't envy," Electronic Frontier Foundation's director Jillian York wrote in an email. "Still, I worry that giving more power to companies-which are undemocratic by nature-to regulate speech is dangerous."

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