Facebook has announced a collaboration with Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to launch its #SpeakUpSpeakOut workshops, which aims to provide community and religious groups in Singapore with the skills and knowledge of best practices to promote social cohesion and resilience.
The #SpeakUpSpeakOut workshops, which was mooted after a dialogue session with Singaporea’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about terrorism in July this year, also aims to enable these groups to better counter divisive online narratives.
More than 100 participants from community and religious organisations took part in the workshop held at Facebook Singapore on 6 December, where they learnt about building an online presence and exchanged ideas and strategies on engaging the online community to combat online radicalisation and divisive narratives.
“We believe challenging extremist narratives online is a valuable part of the response to real world extremism. People use our platform to speak out against hatred and extremism, and to raise up positive and moderate voices,” said Alvin Tan, head of Southeast Asia public policy at Facebook.
“Counterspeech is only effective if it comes from credible speakers, so we partner with other organizations to amplify voices of people on the ground and counter divisive narratives. That's why we’ve partnered with MCCY and community leaders to empower the voices that matter most.”
In addition to #SpeakUpSpeakOut, Facebook has held other workshops which aims to improve community resiliency and promote positive messages. These include a countering violent extremism workshop with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy for policymakers, law enforcement, academia, counterspeech hackathons run with Affinis Labs in Manila, Dhaka and Jakarta, and #ExtremeLives, with United Nations Development Program, which covers on-the-ground stories of violent extremism from those with first-hand experience.
These education programs are part of Facebook's broader effort to make the platform a hostile place for terrorists, which includes clearly defined policies against terrorism and terrorists, the use of artificial intelligence to stop the spread of terrorism, human review and terrorism specialists, and industry and government cooperation.
“At Facebook, we adopt a full spectrum approach to combating terrorism. At one end, we are absolutely committed to making Facebook a hostile place for terrorists, and at the other we support efforts by people to build stronger communities. The challenge for online communities is the same as it is for real world communities – to get better at spotting the early signals and to then challenge it effectively. We will continue to help people better use our platforms to speak out against hatred and divisiveness, and to amplify positive and moderate voices in response,” said Gullnaz Baig, head of counterterrorism, Asia Pacific at Facebook.
Facebook announced last week that 99% of ISIS and Al Qaeda-related terror content removed from Facebook is content it detected before anyone in its community has flagged it to Facebook, and in some cases, before it goes live on the site.
It claimed that once it is aware of a piece of terror content, it removed 83% of subsequently uploaded copies within one hour of upload and that it reaches out to law enforcement whenever it sees a credible threat.
Facebook also has law enforcement response teams available around the clock to respond to emergency requests and over the past year, it has been providing support to authorities around the world that are responding to the threat of terrorism. It claimed that includes cases where law enforcement has been able to disrupt attacks and prevent harm.