MDI at Facebook OCCI against Extremism Launch

Date: 23 June 2017

Country: UK

Facebook_LogoAfter Germany and France, Facebook launched its Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) in the UK aiming to help charities and NGOs identify and eliminate hate speech. The Media Diversity Institute (MDI), which have implemented several projects on countering hate speech, participated at the official Facebook event on 23 June in London.

MDI Executive Director Milica Pesic was amongst the representatives of British civil society, media and academia at the Facebook event, while Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, revealed the details of the Online Civil Courage Initiative.

“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook. We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counter-terrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform. Partnerships with others — including tech companies, civil society, researchers and governments — are also a crucial piece of the puzzle,” said Sandberg.

The Online Civil Courage Initiative includes training courses to organisations on how to monitor and respond to extremist content and created a dedicated support desk at Facebook where concerns can be flagged up. Facebook will also offer organisations the opportunity to promote campaigns against extremism through its own platforms and provide financial support for academic research into online and offline patterns of extremism and how to respond to it.

The Guardian reports that the launch of the initiative comes after growing criticism of Facebook, Google, Twitter and other technology companies about the proliferation of extremist material online.

MDI has been engaged in several projects and movements countering hate speech, such as Media against Hate, Get the Trolls Out, and Stop the Hate. In 2016 MDI published the guide “Stopping Hate: How to Counter Hate Speech on Twitter?” containing useful tips and advice for both civil society organisations and individuals and it was produced and promoted with collaboration with Twitter.