A database set up by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube aims to identify “terrorist and radicalising” content automatically and remove it from their platforms instantly.

The prototype database to prevent the publication of terrorist content launched last month.

The collaboration was announced by European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, who met representatives from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in March to discuss the progress made so far regarding the “removal of terrorist content online”.

Evening Times:

No research has ever been done on the potential impact of the initiative, including no review process and no way of establishing whether the initiative has counter-productive effects.

This prototype is a database operated jointly by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft that gathers “digital fingerprints” (hashtags) of content marked as “terrorist” or “extremist”.

Once designated as such, photos or videos can, in theory, no longer be uploaded to these platforms. The upload filters are intended to ensure that undesirable content is identified and removed instantly. The role of judicial and law enforcement authorities in this process has not been mentioned.

The participating companies are part of what is known as the EU Internet Forum.

The European Commission intends to encourage Internet companies to monitor content on their platforms more closely.

Evening Times:

Alongside the removal of content online, the EU Internet Forum discusses further measures in the area of cyber security and the production of electronic evidence.

The ministers of the interior of the EU member states are calling for greater numbers of direct enquiries to be submitted to companies in the future - circumventing the need for international judicial assistance.

This primarily applies to the operators of cloud servers in the US.

The Commission is currently assessing whether US companies could fall under the remit of the European Investigation Order. This directive could be extended to include operators that, while based in a third country, offer their services within the European Union.