Twitter, Facebook and other social media networking sites will be required to report suspected terror messages to law enforcement authorities, according to a bill approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee. As of now, they they do not always do this quickly enough, U.S. and British law enforcement officials told ABC News.
The bill approved by the Senate Committee mandates social media sites to report each and every terrorist activity noted, but said special monitoring of a specific user is not required. However, now it will be a “duty” of the social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to report of any terrorist activity it is aware of.
Terror groups such as ISIS are using social media networks for their regular communication. The Islamist extremist group use “social media for their battlefield communication,” says Michael Clarke, DG, Royal United Services Institute in case of ISIS.
One relevant example is London’s Street, where a British soldier was brutally beheaded two years ago. The attacker communicated on Facebook about his intentions, the authorities note.
Facebook said that it is making efforts to ensure no terror group or terrorists use their site. That said, the firm’s current policy is not as clear on terrorism as it is on pornography.
Twitter used actively by terrorist group
In February, the White House unveiled a plan to counter terrorist group’s messages and quickly respond to them as groups like ISIS misuse Twitter and other social media services for their benefit by communicating or spreading their messages and to find new volunteers for their terror activities.
A couple of months back, after concerns were raised by the lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Twitter updated its internal policy to clarify that consumers can also report any activity they observe which promotes terrorism.
Moreover, to prevent constant harassment and “revenge porn,” Twitter has been gradually updating its user policies. Twitter has been active in deleting extremist posts and accounts linked to terrorist groups. Twitter claims it has suspended around 10,000 ISIS linked accounts.
This new bill, which now moves on for approval from the whole Senate, is facing criticism from the civil liberties groups, while it is praised by the U.S. counter-terrorism officials. A representative of Electronic Frontier Foundation said: “in this American democracy, we don’t want our social media providers to be acting as essentially secret police.”