Tech Companies Are Lending a Hand in Fight Against ISIS

Twitter recently shutting down more than 360,000 ISIS-linked accounts, and Google helps redirect searches for ISIL propaganda toward moderate views and former extremists.

by Jack Encarnacao, Boston Herald / September 29, 2016
Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and CounterterrorismWhite House

(TNS) — President Obama’s lead homeland security adviser said tech giants in the Hub and Silicon Valley will be enlisted to disrupt ISIS efforts to recruit and spread propaganda on social media.

“Over the past few years, I have met with some of our brightest and most innovative minds in Silicon Valley and right here in Boston,” Lisa Monaco, a former FBI chief of staff, said in her keynote address to the National Security Conference at Massachusetts Institute of Technology yesterday.

“We’ve got to draw on the people who built these platforms, and know best how they can be used and abused by those who are interested in recruiting and radicalizing others to violence,” she said. “We know that this can’t be done without the private sector.”

Monaco said homeland security is “seeing progress” in enlisting social media companies to counter propaganda.

She cited Twitter recently shutting down more than 360,000 ISIS-linked accounts, and Google “pioneering technology that redirects people who are searching for ISIL propaganda and serves up to them instead videos of moderate clerics and testimonials from former extremists.”

Monaco said digital recruitment has extended to messaging functions in video games.

“The use of gaming technology and the messaging functions within them have been both a licit and illicit communication tool and recruitment tool,” she said.

Monaco added that the fight against ISIS recruitment in the U.S. involves health professionals, educators, family members and faith leaders as much as it does law enforcement.

“We’re committed to improving our understanding of how and why people are drawn to violent extremism, and raising awareness of the most effective ways to support somebody who is in trouble,” she said.

Monaco grouped the ISIS-inspired Minnesota mall stabber and Orlando nightclub shooter with the white supremacist who gunned down nine black parishioners last year in a South Carolina church.

“What ties these killers together?” Monaco asked. “We must work together to ensure that young people in our communities can pursue opportunity and purpose instead of violence and terror.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, who hosted yesterday’s conference, said collaboration is key to fighting homegrown terrorism.

“I hope that we have not only just a better understanding of what the current threats are to our country but how we — working together and certainly with our communities — are the first line of defense.”

©2016 the Boston Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Platforms & Programs