Microsoft’s Brad Smith Urges Tech Firms to Help Combat Extremism

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, called on technology companies to develop and “industrywide approach” to detect and prevent the spread of extremist violent content.

He wrote in a blog post published Sunday that while there are initiatives such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism that help mitigate the spread of terrorist content, there is “clearly much more that needs to be done.”

Smith recommended that industry continue to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms such as PhotoDNA, which utilizes digital identifiers to block unsavory content.

He also proposed the creation of a “joint vitrual command center” that would take action during a major incident and focus on rapidly disseminating information to the public. Browser-based technologies, including those based on elements like safe search, have to be explored to further prevent public access to violent content, according to Smith.

“This is the type of serious challenge that requires broad discussion and collaboration with people in governments and across civil society around the world,” he noted.

“It also requires us to expand and deepen industrywide groups focused on these issues, including key partners from outside the industry.”

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