Facebook's Online Civil Courage initiative hopes to combat extremist content

Facebook has launched a new initiative dubbed Online Civil Courage, which it hopes to use to combat extremist content in the United Kingdom.

Facebook’s recently leaked content moderation guidelines has given some insight into how the social media company deals with graphic or violent content, and now the firm has launched the Online Civil Courage initiative with the view of tackling extremist content in the United Kingdom.
The company has revealed its plans to create a dedicated support desk for local non-government organisations in a bid to foster relationships that might lead to funding and training – all towards the goal of finding and reporting extremist activity.
Read: Twitter, Microsoft, and YouTube vow to tackle terrorism online
The company has previously revealed that it plans to leverage artificial intelligence to better identify extremist content – the use of neural networks enables the company to scan both images and video to compare media to previously identified extremist content.
Though the company has been cautious to admit that there isn’t an ‘easy technical fix’ to the prevalence of extremist content on its networks, it will rely on human expertise to fill in the gaps where artificial intelligence might fail; in addition to some 150 ‘counter-terrorism’ employees present at the firm, the company is prepared to partner not only with other social networks, but further government and non-government entities.
The Online Civil Courage initiative will help, then, to train and fund non-government organisations in their efforts to monitor and respond to extremist content. Facebook has confirmed that it will help to facilitate ‘counterspeech training’, which will serve to challenge extremist narratives found online.
The company offers that “Counterspeech comes in many forms, but at its core these are efforts to prevent people from pursuing a hate-filled, violent life or convincing them to abandon such a life. But counterspeech is only effective if it comes from credible speakers. So we’ve partnered with NGOs and community groups to empower the voices that matter most.”
Facebook thus far has offered its support for major counterspeech programs, such as working with Affinis Labs to host hackathons and further the Facebook Global Digital Challenge, which the company cites has reached more than 56 million people worldwide through more than 500 anti-hate and anti-extremism campaigns.
Read: Mark Zuckerberg responds to rumours that he might run for US President
What are your thoughts? How else can Facebook step up to combat extremist content on its network? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA