Home World The United States has set up a task force to combat IS...

The United States has set up a task force to combat IS propaganda

The new group, known as the Task Force on Countering Violent Extremism, will “integrate and harmonize” the government’s efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States, White House spokesman Ned Price said Friday.

However, some of the changes seem largely bureaucratic and reflect the government’s ongoing struggle to combat the Islamic State’s online presence.

President Barack Obama is working to reassure the public that his administration is successfully fighting Islamic State following the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

As part of the fight against jihad, senior national security officials began meeting Friday with leading executives of U.S. technology companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, in Silicon Valley, California, to discuss how best to prevent violent extremists from using the Internet.

Talks with technical leaders at the U.S. Patent Office in San Jose were to focus on how to combat the Islamic State’s use of social media to “recruit, radicalize, and mobilize” its followers, according to a agenda circulated among participants.

The meeting will also discuss how best to use technology to thwart violence and identify recruitment schemes, as well as create “alternative content” that could undermine a group that controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.

A 2015 Brookings Institution report found that a group of militants managed at least 46,000 Twitter accounts during the three months of 2014.

Cook Apple will join the meeting in San Jose, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo and LinkedIn also plan to send senior executives, and other leading firms have been invited.

The meeting was to be chaired by White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, who was also attended by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey and other high-ranking officials.

The fight by law enforcement to hack into encrypted electronic communications used by suspects in crime and terrorism is also on the agenda, but is not expected to be in the spotlight, sources said.

Several social media companies have updated their terms of service over the past 18 months to take a tougher stance on content that can cause violence, but some are reluctant to cooperate too much with the government because of privacy and commercial issues.

Last week, Twitter, long credited with being less cooperative than other companies such as Facebook, updated its policy to explicitly ban “hateful behavior”.

The new task force of the administration will include the Ministry of Internal Security, the Ministry of Justice and other federal and local agencies.

In addition, the State Department said it was improving ways to spread anti-propaganda on sites such as Twitter, creating a new Center for Global Interaction. It will move away from a heavily criticized campaign, which included creating English counter-propaganda content, to helping allies build more targeted communications against the militants.

Michael Lampkin, a defense ministry official, will be the director of the new center, which will focus on creating anti-combat narratives, promoting third-party content and “educating and empowering a global network of positive messengers,” the department said.


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