On 9 December 2020, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) and its partner Tech Against Terrorism hosted a webinar about “Cooperation between the UN and smaller tech platforms in countering use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.”
The webinar provided an overview of the work of UN entities in the counter-terrorism space, and how they relate to current initiatives aimed at targeting terrorist content online and promoting a multi-stakeholder approach. “International efforts have made it increasingly difficult for terrorist groups to exploit large social media platforms, driving terrorist activities towards smaller, less visible platforms and decentralized web (DWeb) services. These platforms with a smaller reach however remain attractive to terrorists as they often lack sufficient resources to remove terrorist content,” said Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director CTED.
The webinar was moderated by Jacob Berntsson, Research Manager at Tech Against Terrorism, and featured keynote speaker Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, who said that to effectively address the spread of terrorist content and dangerous ideologies online, we need a more comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach to addressing online harms and misinformation, while respecting human rights.
Other UN representatives included the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Speakers presented on how their work contributes to the global efforts of countering terrorist and violent extremist use of the internet whilst safeguarding human rights and freedom of expression online. “All measures taken to restrict content must be in full compliance with international law, including international human rights law,” said ASG Coninsx.
The webinar also included remarks by Facebook and how public-private partnerships can support tech companies in tackling terrorist exploitation of the online space.