United Nations: The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), established by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube with the objective of disrupting terrorist abuse on their respective platforms, will now become an independent organization led by an Executive Director and supported by dedicated technology, counterterrorism and operations teams.
The decision was taken during the GIFCT meeting with government leaders, led by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to share progress on the steps taken to implement the Christchurch Call to Action here on Monday.
"The new, independent GIFCT will integrate its existing work to develop technology, cultivate strong corporate policies and sponsor research with efforts to fulfill commitments in the nine-point action plan released after the Christchurch Call," Facebook said in a statement.
Founded in 2017, the forum worked closely with a range of governments, particularly under the auspices of the European Union Internet Forum, but the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch and the extraordinary virality of the attacker's video online illustrated the need to do even more.
The consortium has grown with new global technology companies joining GIFCT, and now Amazon, LinkedIn and WhatsApp are joining it.
"Most recently, we reached our 2019 goal of collectively contributing more than 200,000 hashes, or unique digital fingerprints, of known terrorist content into our shared database, enabling each of us to quickly identify and take action on potential terrorist content on our respective platforms," Facebook elaborated.
As an independent organization, GIFCT will adopt a new mission statement: "Prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms," to guide its work across four foundational goals.
The updated GIFCT will be led by an independent Executive Director, who will be responsible for leading and coordinating all operations, including core management, program implementation and fundraising, and engagement with the Operational Board and Advisory Committee.
So far, the US, the UK, France, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the European Commission have signed on to the Advisory Committee.