U.S. looks to Facebook, private groups to battle online extremism
February 24, 2016, Reuters
The U.S. government, acknowledging its limited success in combating Islamic extremist messaging, is recruiting tech companies, community organizations and educational groups to take the lead in disrupting online radicalization.
The change in strategy, which took a step forward on Wednesday when the Justice Department convened a meeting with social media firms including Facebook Inc, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s Google , comes despite what critics say is scant evidence on the effectiveness of such efforts.
The meeting was “a recognition that the government is ill-positioned and ill-equipped to counter ISIS online,” Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, said after attending the event, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
The federal government is not best placed to counter extremist online recruitment efforts with messaging of its own, said George Selim, director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office that coordinates the government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) activities.
The goal now, he said, is to help “communities and young people to amplify their own messages.”