Facebook Newsroom Blog Reveals the Website’s Anti-Terrorism Measures 

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated July 12, 2021

With the internet being easier to access, the web allows people from all over the world to connect. But it can also be a powerful platform for terrorists to promote their cause or intimidate civilians. Monika Bickert and Brian Fishman of Facebook published a blog post on how the social media platform’s anti-terrorism methods work and how it prevents sensitive content from being displayed on the website.


Image Courtesy of Millennium Post

According to the Facebook Newsroom Blog, the company defines terrorism as “Any non-governmental organization that engages in premeditated acts of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government, or international organization to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.” The company believes their definition is agnostic to the ideology of political goals of any group and includes any form of religious extremism, violent separatism, racism or militant environmental groups. If any content seeks to achieve individual or group goals through violence, the website flags it as terrorist content.

However, the counter-terrorism policies laid out by Facebook do not include governments. It reflects that a general academic or legal consensus that nation-states may choose to use violence in some circumstances. Only graphic content gets removed in such cases due to the graphic violence policy which applies to all individuals or groups, including governments.

Facebook policy prevents terrorists from using the service completely, and any identified affiliates from terrorist organizations are immediately banned from the platform. The newest additions to Facebook’s anti-terrorism enforcement include focusing on large-scale terrorist groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliate organizations. Facebook pushed out new algorithms last year in June and updated on its progress in November. The website claims they have been able to remove propaganda messages of such organizations quickly and at a large scale.

The social media platform currently has 200 people working on the anti-terrorism team, and more members are set to join over time. Facebook metrics on counter-terrorism are still in development, but the blog provided us data about their enforcement against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their affiliate organizations in Q1 2018. Over 1.9 million pieces of ISIS and al-Qaeda content have been removed that were meant to be shared for informational or counter-speech purposes for terrorism awareness.

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