A new strategy asks social media and communications companies to enforce their own policies to protect users from those who foment violence.
The Biden administration is aiming to work with tech companies to increase information sharing on domestic terrorism threats as part of a new strategy, according to a Tuesday announcement.
The White House released a new National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism organized around four main pillars: information sharing, prevention of recruitment and mobilization, disrupt and deter activity, and confront long-term contributors to domestic terrorism. The strategy calls for a community to address domestic terrorism that includes government, allies, academia—and the tech sector.
A March 2021 intelligence assessment, which is cited in the strategy, found extremists use social media and encrypted messaging applications to recruit and plan terrorist activities. This was true of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, when false claims regarding the 2020 election spread both on right-wing sites like Parler but also on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
During a briefing ahead of the release of the strategy, senior administration officials said partnering with tech companies means supporting those companies as they enforce terms of service on their platforms in order to protect other users from those who pose threats of violence.
“We as the government see different things from what any particular tech company might see,” one of the officials told reporters. “Any particular company often knows its own platform very well, but the government sees things, especially threats of violence, across platforms. They see the relationship between online recruitment and radicalization and violence in the physical world. And so, helping to illuminate these threats is a process that has already begun between the government and the tech sector and it will continue.”
The strategy also calls for more research and analysis and improved information sharing among federal agencies like the FBI and the Homeland Security and State departments.
“Consistent with legal and policy limitations on the sharing of sensitive law enforcement information, we will continue sharing information widely across the Federal enterprise, including, as noted above, through new efforts focused specifically on the domestic terrorism threats that can be identified from open-source information,” the strategy reads.