United Kingdom government uses AI to block jihadist content

Amber Rudd

The British government Tuesday Feb. 13, 2018 is unveiling new technology to remove extremist material from social media.

Speaking to the BBC, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that she hasn't ruled out the possibility of forcing tech companies to use their technology.

Many companies with huge online platforms, such as Google and Facebook, already claimed to have developed technology to root out extremist content.

Recently, Facebook's head of news feed Adam Mosseri admitted to Recode in the wake of Unilever's threat to boycott adverts if they didn't clamp down on extremism "it's on us to make sure we deliver and meet whatever expectations they have".

ASI Data Science, the company that worked in collaboration with UK Home Office, announced on its official Twitter handle that the accuracy of the algorithm is close to 99.9%.

It was run by thousands of hours of content produced by ISIS which the government believes will automatically mould the tool for analysing, recognising and ultimately blocking extremist content.

Any content that the software is still unsure about would then be passed on for a human to review.

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"We're not going to rule out taking legislative action if we need to do it", the home secretary said.

Rudd visited the United States to meet tech companies to discuss the idea, as well as other efforts to tackle extremism. "So we're very keen that the tool is used as widely as possible".

The system is to be made available to smaller companies, as the government says that these are increasingly being targeted by extremists to publish propaganda. It works by being integrated into the upload process of any platform, and has been created to help smaller tech firms keep terrorist content off of their platforms.

The Home Office and ASI will be sharing the methodology behind the new model with smaller companies, in order to help combat the abuse of their platforms by terrorists and their supporters.

"The tool can be used by any platform, and integrated into the upload process, so that the majority of video propaganda is stopped before it ever reaches the Internet", the Home Office added in a statement.

Charlie Winter, senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College London, said the program only focuses on video and video is only a small portion of "the Islamic state corpus".

Rudd will also meet the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which was launched a year ago following a roundtable convened at the Home Office in the aftermath of the Westminster Bridge attack.

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