Social Media

Facebook to tackle online extremism with free ads for anti-terror groups


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

June 23, 2017 | 4 min read

Faceboook wants to tackle online extremism in the UK with a new scheme called the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI), an anti-terror counterspeech programme which will also help to tackle the spread hate speech within its walls.

As part of the move Facebook will give UK anti-terror groups advertising credits to promote their messages to individuals that might be at risk of radicalisation.


The move comes amid growing pressure from the UK government

As well as commiting financial and marketing support to these organisations, the OCCI will also bring together experts to develop best practice and tools for people to engage in counter speech. It will also provide training monitor and respond to extremist content as well as financial support for research on effective responses to online and offline extremism.

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The move comes amid growing pressure from the UK government for digital platforms to do more to detect and suppress extremist content online as well as actively block and report individuals if there is evidence of imminent harm.

The social network will work in collaboration with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue a London-based 'think and do tank' which seeks answers to the rising challenges of violent extremism and inter-communal conflict. Members include Mark Gardner from the Community Security Trust and Brendan Cox of the Jo Cox Foundation.

The announcement follows new counterterrorism measures outlined by Facebook last week, in which it revealed it was using artificial intelligence (AI) including image recognition and semantic classification software, to identify content supporting extremist groups.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook´s chief operating officer said there was "no place for hate or violence on Facebook."

"Some of our most important partnerships are focused on counterspeech, which means encouraging people to speak out against violence and extremism. The UK OCCI will support NGOs and community groups who work across the UK to challenge the extremist narratives that cause such harm. We know we have more to do – but through our platform, our partners and our community we will continue to learn to keep violence and extremism off Facebook."

The OCCI has already launched in Germany and France.

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