Europol and TikTok collaborate to combat terrorist content: A step forward in online safety

by Lorraine Williamson
Europol and TikTok

MADRID – In a significant step towards countering the proliferation of terrorist and extremist content on social media, Europol, the European law enforcement agency, recently collaborated with TikTok on a large-scale Referral Action Day.

This joint initiative involved investigators from 11 countries. Coordinated by Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC), it focused on identifying and addressing content glorifying terrorism and extremism on the popular video-sharing platform.

The Collaborative Effort

The Referral Action Day took place on September 28. Its aim was to bolster efforts against the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online. It saw a remarkable partnership between TikTok, Europol, and the participating countries, who worked closely with the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) within the ECTC.

One of the primary objectives of this collaborative exercise was to detect and address materials that glorify past terrorist attacks or individuals associated with terrorism. TikTok, which has been proactive in content moderation, shared its latest transparency report. Moreover, this revealed it had voluntarily removed an impressive 95% of violent extremism content.

TikTok’s Proactive Measures

During the Referral Action Day, a total of 2,145 pieces of content were assessed and flagged for review by TikTok. This was in accordance with its terms of service. Among the referred content were videos, memes, and other materials linked to jihadism, violent right-wing extremism, and terrorism. This comprehensive effort to identify and remove such content represents a significant step forward in safeguarding online spaces from extremist ideologies.

The initiative was set into motion by Spain and the EU IRU, with cooperation from law enforcement agencies in Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. This cross-border collaboration underscores the importance of international cooperation in addressing the global challenge of online extremism.

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The Referral Action Day is just one facet of an ongoing public-private partnership between TikTok, law enforcement agencies, and Europol. This partnership is committed to combating the abuse of the internet by terrorists, preventing online radicalisation, and protecting fundamental rights. It acknowledges the role that both technology platforms and law enforcement agencies play in ensuring safe and secure online communities.

Other social media platforms

Europol’s collaboration with TikTok is not an isolated effort. The agency has conducted similar exercises with other social media platforms. Thus highlighting its commitment to addressing the complex issue of online extremism comprehensively.

The digital landscape continues to evolve. Therefore, initiatives like the Referral Action Day underscore the importance of cooperation between public and private sectors. By working together to identify and remove terrorist and extremist content that promotes hatred and violence, Europol and TikTok are taking a significant step towards countering the misuse of digital platforms for dangerous ideologies.

This is an era where the internet plays a central role in shaping public opinion. Consequently, this type of collaborative effort sends a powerful message! The fight against terrorism and extremism is a shared responsibility. Therefore, partnerships between technology companies and law enforcement agencies are essential in safeguarding our societies.

Also read: Law enforcement conference on data protection

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