YouTube, Twitch, Microsoft and Meta have rolled out updates aimed at countering violent extremism online, the White House announced Thursday as part of a summit to counter hate-fueled violence.
The updates come after pressure from the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress and state offices on tech platforms to revamp their anti-hate online policies, particularly after the mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, Texas.
YouTube will expand its policies by removing content that glorifies violent acts in an attempt to incite others to harm, even if the creator of such content is not linked to a designated terrorist group, according to the House announcement. White.
The Google-owned video platform will also launch an educational media literacy campaign aimed at helping young users identify manipulative tactics to spread misinformation. The campaign will first launch in the United States and will expand to other countries.
Twitch, an Amazon-owned live-streaming platform, will launch a tool this year that “empowers its streamers and their communities to combat hate and harassment and further individualize the safety experience of their chains”. The announcement did not specify specific details of the new tool for Twitch users.
Microsoft will make a “more affordable basic version” of its artificial intelligence and machine learning tools for detecting credible threats of violence available to schools and small organizations.
The tech company will also develop a new experience on the popular Minecraft game called “Education Edition” that aims to help students, families and educators build a “safer online and offline world through respect, empathy, trust and security”.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, will partner with the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies on research to analyze trends in violent extremism and the tools that help communities counter it.
Tech companies are coming under increasing scrutiny for the role they play in amplifying hate speech.
The day before the White House summit, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee surveyed current and former social media employees about their platforms’ security policies.
The summit also comes a week after the White House released a set of fundamental principles for reform aimed at strengthening competition and technological responsibility.
The principles included calls to increase transparency about algorithms and end discriminatory algorithmic decision-making.