Facebook, Google, Twitter Deliberately Fail to Tackle Terrorism

Facebook, Google, Twitter Deliberately Fail to Tackle Terrorism: British Panel

In the first-ever widespread criticism of US technology giants and social media platforms, the British Home Affairs select committee has slammed the internet behemoths of becoming a “recruiting platform for terrorism” and “passing the buck”.

Led by Keith Vaz, the British parliament’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP, the panel rapped Facebook, Twitter,Google and YouTube, saying the companies were deliberately failing to stop terrorists from using their platforms to promote their sinister agenda, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.

“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,” Vaz was quoted as saying.

According to the committee report, “It is alarming that these companies have teams of only a few hundred employees to monitor networks of billions of accounts and that Twitter does not even proactively report extremist content to law enforcement agencies”.

They specifically mentioned the case of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, stressing that Twitter and Youtube refused to remove his posts praising violent extremism despite repeated requests by the police.

Choudary, 49, was convicted of terror offences last week and faces up to 10 years in prison. He was set to be questioned by French and Belgian security services over his links to Islamic State (IS)-affiliated terrorists.

The British panel also warned that social media platforms are becoming the “vehicle of choice” for spreading terrorist propaganda.

“If they continue to fail to tackle this issue and allow their platforms to become the ‘Wild West’ of the internet, then it will erode their reputation as responsible operators,” the report added.

Reacting to the report, Simon Milner, director of policy at Facebook UK, was quoted as saying: aceTerrorists and the support of terrorist activity are not allowed on Facebook and we deal swiftly and robustly with reports of terrorism-related content.”

Last week, the micro-blogging website Twitter had announced it had suspended an additional 235,000 accounts for violating its policies related to promotion of terrorism in the last six months.

Twitter had announced the blocking of more than 125,000 accounts earlier this year which were primarily related to the IS terror group.

“This brings our overall number of suspensions to 360,000 since the middle of 2015. As noted by numerous third parties, our efforts continue to drive meaningful results, including a significant shift in this type of activity off of Twitter,” the company had said in a blog post.

Facebook, Unity Partner to Take on Steam and Other PC Gaming Platforms

Facebook, Unity Partner to Take on Steam and Other PC Gaming Platforms
  • Facebook is partnering with Unity to distribute PC games
  • Developers can get access to Unity 5.4 to export games to Facebook
  • There is also an app in the works for PCs

In its quest to be all things to all people, Facebook announced its intentions to take on the likes of GOG and Steam.

Collaborating with Unity – one of the most widely used game engines across platforms, the social network is building a downloadable, dedicated games platform in addition to expanding the website experience for gamers.

(Also see: Steam on Windows 10 Will Get ‘Progressively Worse’: Gears of War Developer)

“Unity and Facebook are joining forces to build new functionality into Unity that streamlines the process for exporting and publishing games onto Facebook,” wrote Facebook’s Jack King Choi. “This will allow Unity developers to quickly deliver their games to the more than 650 million players who enjoy playing Facebook-connected games every month – a massive and highly-engaged gaming community that enabled Facebook to pay out over $2.5 billion to just web-game developers in 2015 alone.”

From Thursday, a limited group of developers will be able to access a closed-alpha build of Unity 5.4 to allow them to build and export games to Facebook’s website and desktop app. This could mean a glut of Android and iOS games ported to PC quickly as most of them are running on Unity.

It’s no surprise that PC gaming has seen a resurgence of late what with the likes of Steam, GOG, and Origin seeing an explosion of content on their platforms. Facebook wanting a piece of the action seems to be an attempt to take back some of the revenue lost when casual gaming shifted to mobile.

A standalone downloadable client does give it the opportunity to have bigger, immersive experiences and partnering with Unity ensures a massive amount of content in a short amount of time. However it will be interesting to see if an audience for hardcore games exists on a network that’s as mainstream as it can get for its time.