Fionnuala Aoláin, UN special rapporteur on protecting rights while countering terrorism, made a call in a statement on Monday, urging social media Giant Facebook to narrow its “sweeping” definition of terrorism to stop governments from arbitrarily blocking legitimate opposition groups and dissenting voices.
“The use of overly broad and imprecise definitions as the basis for regulating access to and the use of Facebook’s platform may lead to discriminatory implementation, over-censoring and arbitrary denial of access to and use of Facebook’s services,” she said
Facebook’s definition is: “any nongovernmental organization that engages in premeditated acts of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government or international organization in order to achieve a political, religious or ideological aim.”
According to a new blog post from the company, It’s all about the violence, not a group’s political goals, writes Monika Bickert, Facebook’s VP of global policy management and Brian Fishman, the company’s head of counter-terrorism policy.
And either way, governments are generally exempt. Facebook said that it used the definition to delete 1.9 million pieces of ISIS and al-Qaida related content in the first quarter of 2018, twice as much as last quarter. The company says it found 99 percent of that content itself, instead of relying on user reports.
“We’re under no illusion that the job is done or that the progress we have made is enough,” writes Facebook.
“Terrorist groups are always trying to circumvent our systems, so we must constantly improve.”