AFP, Facebook discuss partnership to counter terrorism online

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay and Facebook Head of Public Policy in the Philippines, Ms. Clare Amador met on Wednesday, 23 September 2020 to discuss possible partnership in preventing terrorists’ exploitation of the internet.

Ms. Amador and her team reached out to Lt. Gen. Gapay in August to set the virtual courtesy call and share Facebook’s global efforts to counter terrorism and in dealing with harmful content on the platform. Facebook is a member of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) which was established in 2017 and is now a consortium of companies dedicated to disrupting terrorist abuse of members’ digital platforms.

“We laud and express gratitude to the members of the GIFCT, including Facebook, for stepping up in its self-regulation initiatives that targets the dissemination of extremist propaganda, including photos and videos of terrorist violence. We likewise in the security sector shall extend any assistance as needed and our lines of cooperation shall always be open,” Lt. Gen. Gapay said.

There have been many documented cases of social media being used by terror groups as tool to advance their campaigns. The war against the Daesh in the Middle East and the country’s own experience in fighting terrorists in Marawi City proved the potential of social networks as conduit for the fast spread of violent extremism and terrorist propaganda.

The spread of videos and images of execution incites fear and panic among the public, as well as increases the morale of terrorist elements and their sympathizers. Private messaging apps continue to be used as first line of communications followed by personally mediated and face to face meetings in recruitment and radicalization.

The Facebook team also shared about the nine-point plan being implemented by the GIFCT to prevent terrorist exploitation of the internet while respecting human rights and freedom of speech.

“We seek an open and above-board partnership with social networking sites to prevent and counter the spread of violent extremism, without curtailing the rights of users to free expression and information,” said Lt. Gen. Gapay.

Facebook Philippines currently has partnerships with other government agencies for its endeavours on child safety, education, human rights, elections, and law enforcement. It recently met with representatives from the Department of National Defense and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency to discuss matters on counter-terrorism. AFP.MIL.PH