Zoom Joins Meta, Microsoft as the Newest Member of Tech Industry Counterterrorism Group GIFCT

Video-conferencing platform Zoom Meta, formerly known as Facebook and Microsoft, has joined a counter-terrorism organization formed by major US tech companies, the group said on Wednesday.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) is an independent group through which member companies share information on combating terrorism and violent extremism on their sites.

zoom, which saw an explosion during use COVID-19 The pandemic but has faced slow growth in recent months, has come under scrutiny as to how police material and its platform are abused.

was a founding member of GIFCT Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and alphabet youtube,

Its membership has grown to 18 companies with five new platforms this year, including a home rental firm airbnbsocial network Tumblr and online publishing platform wordpress, It said it is planning more in 2022.

Tech companies have long been criticized for failing to curb violent extremist activity on their platforms, though they also face concerns over free expression.

GIFCT was created in 2017 under pressure from the US and European governments after several deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels.

It manages a hash-sharing database, where member companies can share “hashes”, unique numerical representations of original pieces of content that have been removed from their services. Other companies may use these hashes to identify similar content on their sites and to review or remove the content.

“It is our responsibility to support our users and protect them from online threats,” said Josh Parecki, Zoom’s Associate General Counsel for Trust and Safety, in a statement.

“By collaborating with other leaders in the industry, sharing key learnings and advancing research, we aspire to make the digital world a safer place for all.”

Zoom faced high-profile content moderation issues as individuals and companies turned to video-conferencing apps during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

These ranged from abuses like “Zoombombing”, where uninvited users crashed the calls of others to share hate speech and racist, violent or pornographic content, to the cancellation of a virtual event in the US of Leila Khalid, a member of a Palestinian group. till decisions like State Department list of terrorist organizations.

Nicolas Rasmussen, executive director of GIFCT, said in a statement that he is pleased to add Zoom as its mission “to work with the wide variety of companies we need to …

GIFCT has faced criticism from some human and digital rights advocates over centralized or more widespread censorship, and calls for greater transparency.

In July, the organization expanded the scope of its hash-sharing database to include attacker manifestos and other publications and URLs. United Nations Take Initiative Against Terrorism. It also said that it will continue to expand the database to include audio files or hashes of certain symbols.

GIFCT also said on Wednesday that it has created a new subscription structure based on the company’s revenue, suggesting an annual contribution of $0 to $1 million (about Rs 7.6 crore). It said the membership was not dependent on the company’s revenue.

Other members include Meta’s instagram And WhatsApp, Pinterest, heroinechat platform discord and file-sharing service dropbox, other companies like reddit And snapchat owner snap Can also access hash-sharing databases.

© Thomson Reuters 2021