Microsoft aiming to end terrorism on the web

By: Vamien McKalin
2 minute read

Microsoft wants to tackle terrorism on the Internet. A policy outlining how it plans on doing this was recently released,  with an overall goal here of making sure any form of terrorist content is never transmitted through the Internet using Microsoft’s products and services. The software giant will up its game in removing content that breaks these rules but to do this, Microsoft will need to forge new and interesting partnerships with experts in this field.

According to Microsoft, it wants to make sure not to go overboard with its removal policy by aiming for a balance between dangerous content and freedom of speech. While it is now prohibited to promote extremist content through Microsoft products and services, the company expects to have problems defining what terrorist material from what it is not.

Microsoft had this to say:

There is no universally accepted definition of terrorist content. For purposes of our services, we will consider terrorist content to be material posted by or in support of organizations included on the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List that depicts graphic violence, encourages violent action, endorses a terrorist organization or its acts, or encourages people to join such groups. The UN Sanctions List includes a list of groups that the UN Security Council considers to be terrorist organizations.

This won’t be an easy task for Microsoft but something they must do in order to make sure its products and services doesn’t become a haven for extremists. Interestingly enough, however, the software giant will treat Bing differently. Instead of removing content from Bing without question, the idea is to remove URLs that link back to terrorist content.

With everything Microsoft is doing, it makes us wonder if the company will take back its word of refusing to give the U.S. government and the NSA access to user emails and other documents.

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