Facebook’s definition of ‘terrorism’ helps states mute dissent – UN expert

Facebook’s definition of ‘terrorism’ helps states mute dissent – UN expert

Monday, September 3, 2018 2:55 pm


Facebook needs to narrow its “sweeping” definition of terrorism to stop governments arbitrarily blocking legitimate opposition groups and dissenting voices.

Fionnuala Aoláin, UN special rapporteur on protecting rights while countering terrorism, made the call in statement on Monday.

“The use of overly broad and imprecise definitions as the basis for regulating access to and the use of  Facebook’s platform may lead to discriminatory implementation, over-censoring and arbitrary denial  of access to and use of Facebook’s services,” she said

NAN reports that facebook’s definition is:”any nongovernmental organisation that engages in premeditated acts  of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government or international  organization in order to achieve a political, religious or ideological aim.”

According to a new blog post from the company, It’s all about the violence, not a group’s political goals,  writes Monika Bickert, Facebook’s VP of global policy management and Brian Fishman, the company’s  head of counter-terrorism policy.

And either way, governments are generally exempt.

Facebook said that it used the definition to delete 1.9 million pieces of ISIS and al-Qaida related content in the first quarter of 2018, twice as much as last quarter.

The company says it found 99 per cent of that content itself, instead of relying on user reports.

“We’re under no illusion that the job is done or that the progress we have made is enough,” writes Facebook.

“Terrorist groups are always trying to circumvent our systems, so we must constantly improve.” (Reuters/NAN)

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