House Democrats want to see how much Big Tech is spending to curb extremism

On Thursday, Democrats in the National Security Committee of the House of Representatives pressured major technology companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google, to submit their budgets to reduce the content of terrorists and extremists in your platforms.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) representative for the first time forced the companies to a briefing in March after the white nationalist terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, was broadcast live to Facebook. According to the committee, no company could adequately comply with the committee's requests. In April, lawmakers pressured companies again for more details. Some responded to these requests, but lawmakers did not find their answers sufficient. As a result, members issue a more aggressive impulse to know exactly how much companies spend on counterterrorism.

"The fact that some of the largest corporations in the world can not tell us what they are doing specifically to stop the terrorists." and extremist content is not acceptable, "said Thompson and Rep. Max Rose (D-NY)." Domestic terrorism is increasing both here and abroad, and all forms of terrorism and extremism are increasingly turning to these platforms of social networks to proliferate their message and spread their violent and hateful content. "

According to the committee, Facebook did not respond at all to their requests.In a statement to The Verge today, a Facebook spokesperson said: "We have worked and continue to work with the Committee on this issue, which is of the utmost importance."

On April 24. letter to the committee, the director of public policy and philanthropy of Twitter, Carlos Monje Jr ., emphasized the company's commitment to eliminate terrorist content. "We continue to work closely with colleagues in the industry," Monje wrote, "and we have invested heavily in corporate resources to review and remove any problematic content in our service, including the content associated with terrorism. " Twitter did not specifically describe how much money or resources it has devoted to counterterrorism efforts.

YouTube also responded to the committee in a letter on April 24. "It is difficult and possibly misleading for us to unbundle our counter-terrorism efforts from overheads to protect our domain," wrote William McCants, Google's global public policy leader for hate speech and terrorism. "It would require many assumptions of partial assignments."

Twitter and Google declined to comment. Microsoft did not respond immediately to requests for comments on the latest impulse.

"When it comes to our national security, and to keep Americans safe from hatred and terrorism, it is not enough with great voices and vague explanations about security procedures," Thompson and Rose said. "We need a full report of what is being done."

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