U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today chaired a hearing titled, “Terrorism and Social Media: #IsBigTechDoingEnough?” The hearing examined the steps social media platforms are taking to combat the spread of extremist propaganda over the internet. During the hearing, Thune questioned witnesses from Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook on how they are working to better identify and remove extremist content online.
Excerpt from Thune’s opening remarks:
“The positive contributions of social media platforms are well documented. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, help to connect people around the world, give voice to those oppressed by totalitarian regimes, and provide a forum for discussions of every political, social, scientific, and cultural stripe. These services have thrived online because of the freedom made possible by the uniquely American guarantee of free speech, and by a light touch regulatory policy.
But, as is so often the case, enemies of our way of life have sought to take advantage of our freedoms to advance hateful causes. Violent Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS have been particularly aggressive in seeking to radicalize and recruit over the internet and various social media platforms.”