Tech group to revamp in fight against online extremist content

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism brings together Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube

A consortium of global tech companies, set up to combat extremist content online, said on Monday it plans to revamp the two-year-old organization and appoint an executive director.

Facebook said the move makes the body an independent organization that would allow it to work with experts and government stakeholders.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism also includes Microsoft, Twitter and Alphabet's YouTube and was formed after the companies came under pressure from governments in Europe and the United States following a spate of deadly attacks.

The companies, as part of the group, have shared solutions to remove extremist content online and commissioned research to fight such content and work more with counter-terrorism experts.

The announcement coincides with group members meeting leaders including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the United Nations General Assembly to share the progress regarding an action plan in response to Christchurch's mosques shooting massacre.

While the New Zealand incident was not the first internet broadcast of a violent crime, the livestream of the massacre showed that stopping gory footage from spreading online remains a major challenge for tech companies despite years of investment.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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