Tech companies are willing to work more closely with law enforcement to fight white nationalist terrorism, but the industry is skeptical of the White House's seriousness on the issue.
matters: President Trump called on social media to do better monitoring in the
wake of recent mass shootings, but the companies point out the White House
still has yet to sign on to recommendations made in the wake of the
the news: As part of his comments following the Dayton and El Paso shootings,
President Trump called on law enforcement and social media companies to work
together more closely.
"I am directing the Department of
Justice to work in partnership with local, state and federal agencies, as well
as social media companies to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before
they strike," he said.
they're saying: While the big tech companies didn't comment on the record, they
shared a consensus around several points:
the big platforms welcome the attention on 8chan and more extreme internet
discussion forums, pointing out that extremists tend to start out there, though
many do have presences in more mainstream forums.
companies are willing to work with law enforcement and believe that concerted
action could yield results. One source pointed to the success the companies
have had in working with law enforcement around Islamist terrorism and even
more recently around election security.
that willingness, there is also widespread skepticism over the seriousness of
the president's call, given the administration's past indifference to white
supremacism. In particular, one source pointed to the fact the U.S. hasn't
moved on steps recommended in the wake of the New Zealand shooting, actions
signed on to by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, as well as the
heads of state of most of the U.S.'s allies. The tech companies also announced
a series of steps they would take on their own, in addition to any work with
House representative was not immediately available for comment.
thought bubble: Trump's speech condemned "white supremacism," but his
call to social media companies asked them to detect "mass shooters"
rather than pursue any specific group. The question is just how deeply the
administration will want social media and law enforcement to go after
extremists who support the president and often share his rhetoric.