Google and Twitter agreed to another anti-extremism partnership, with the two companies pledging to ramp up their efforts to supervise their online platforms with the goal of identifying and sanctioning radical content, as well as organizations and individuals promoting such ideas. The latest initiative was announced in Indonesia, where the firms came to an agreement with the local government after Jakarta threatened to ban social media and communications apps over the issue. The current administration in the South Asian country has been cracking down on extremists trying to radicalize impressionable online users for a while now and has opted to put maximum pressure on the two Internet companies in an effort to gain their support, despite the fact that both Google and Twitter already debuted a variety of global measures meant to combat such content in recent months.
The local division of the Mountain View, California-based tech giant now agreed to collaborate with a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that will manually identify extremist and otherwise offensive videos posted on YouTube, as revealed by Information Technology Minister Rudiantara. The initiative will be fully operational within the next two or three months, the official said, adding how the main focus of the project will be on limiting and preventing radicalization originating from violent extremist groups. With a population of more than 261 million, Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority country on the planet and is hence believed to be particularly prone to attracting radical Islamist groups looking to recruit more followers to their cause. The Islamic State and similar organizations are becoming increasingly active on social media where they’re looking to spread their propaganda, local authorities previously said, citing that development as one of the main reasons why they find a comprehensive collaboration with Google and Twitter to be necessary.
The move will likely be criticized by a number of freedom of speech activists in the country, though Jakarta is unlikely to change its policy on the matter in the near future, especially after ensuring support from two Silicon Valley giants. The project will also be looking to sanction content that is deemed to be religiously divisive and otherwise illegal, Mr. Rudiantara said.