© Reuters. PHOTO FILE: The 3D printed Zoom logo is placed on the keyboard in this illustration taken on April 12, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvić / Illustration / File Photo
By Elizabeth Culliford
(Reuters) – Zoom video conferencing platform joins counter-terrorism organization formed by major US technology companies, including Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook (NASDAQ :), and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ :), the group announced on Wednesday.
The move marks the latest expansion of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GIFCT), an independent group through which member companies share counter-terrorism and violent extremism information on their websites.
Zoom video communication (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc., whose use exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic but has faced a slowdown in growth in recent months, has come under scrutiny for monitoring content and abuse on its platform.
GIFCT, which said it wants to expand its member companies, has added five new platforms this year, including airbnb rental diva, social network Tumblr and online publishing platform WordPress. He now has 18 members and said he plans to join more companies in 2022.
Technology companies have long been criticized for failing to curb violent extremist activities on their platforms, although they also face concerns about freedom of expression.
GIFCT was created in 2017 under pressure from US and European governments following a series of deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels. Its founders were Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter (NYSE 🙂 and Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 YouTube.
The Group manages a hash-sharing database, where member companies can share “hashes,” unique numerical representations of original pieces of content that have been removed from their services. Other companies may use these hashes to identify the same content on their sites and to review or remove material.
“It is our responsibility to support our customers and protect them from online threats,” Josh Parecki, Zoom’s associate chief trust and security adviser, said in a statement. “By collaborating with other industry leaders, sharing key insights and advanced research, we strive to make the digital world a safer place for everyone.”
While individuals and companies have turned to video conferencing applications during COVID-19-related restrictions, Zoom has faced problems with moderating high-profile content.
They ranged from abuses such as “zoom bombing”, where uninvited users ruined other people’s calls to share hate speech and racist, violent or pornographic content, to decisions such as canceling a virtual event with Leila Khaled, a member of the Palestinian group on the US. List of State Department terrorist organizations.
GIFCT CEO Nicholas Rasmussen said in a statement that he was delighted with the addition of Zoom because its mission “requires us to work with a diverse range of companies … to develop multi-platform solutions that make terrorists and violent extremists ineffective online.”
GIFCT has faced criticism from some human and digital rights advocates for centralized or excessive censorship and calls for greater transparency.
In July, the organization expanded the scope of its hash-sharing database to include attacker manifestos and other publications and URLs tagged with the United Nations Tech Against Terrorism initiative. He also said he would continue to expand the database to include hashes of audio files or certain symbols.
GIFCT also said Wednesday that it has designed a new membership structure based on the company’s revenue, with proposed annual contributions ranging from $ 0 million to $ 1 million. It was said that membership does not depend on the company’s revenue.
Members of the group are also Reddit, Snapchat owner of Snapchat (NYSE :), Verizon Communications (NYSE 🙂 and Dropbox file sharing service (NASDAQ :).