1. ITV Report

Facebook unveils plan to tackle online extremism

Facebook says the OCCI will be a forum for charities to develop 'best practice' for countering hate speech Credit: PA

Facebook has revealed new plans to tackle extremism by educating charities and other organisations on how to counter hate speech.

The social media giant has launched the Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI), which it said would be a forum for charities and other organisations to share their experiences and develop "best practices" for tackling extremism.

The initiative has already launched in Germany and France, and is being supported by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, who said it would help the scheme mobilise "innovative technology together with expert knowledge" to counter the spread of extremist rhetoric.

Internet companies have come under increased scrutiny from the government over their role in the spread of hate speech, and Home Secretary Amber Rudd has hinted at sanctions for firms that fail to remove extremist material.

Facebook says the OCCI is aimed at building awareness campaigns and better constructing "counterspeech" to tackle extremism.

Amber Rudd has hinted at sanctions for firms that fail to remove extremist material. Credit: PA

The initiative's founding partners include the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in memory of the murdered MP, as well as other anti-hate groups from the Jewish and Muslim communities.

Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said of the company's practices: "There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook.

"We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.

"Partnerships with others - including tech companies, civil society, researchers and governments - are also a crucial piece of the puzzle."

The home office welcomed the initiative. A spokesman said: "We have called on industry to take more action on the issue and welcome this new initiative from Facebook to provide support to other organisations in tackling terrorist and extremist material."

But he added: "Technology companies still need to go further and faster in moving towards preventing this type of toxic output being disseminated in the first place."