Blue Dogs Back Action to Address Terrorist Content on Social Media

February 27, 2020 by Dan McCue
(Dreamstime/TNS)

The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats on Thursday endorsed H.R. 5209, a bill that would hold social media companies accountable for aiding in the spread of terrorist content on line.

The bill, also known as the Raising the Bar Act of 2019, was introduced by Rep. Max Rose, of New York, co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security and chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism.

“The second we start to think that we’re doing enough to confront the spread of hatred and violence online is the second we will lose this battle,” Rep. Rose said.

“Those looking to exploit social media platforms to spread terrorist content are always working to stay a step ahead, and these social media companies have a responsibility to leave no stone unturned in confronting this problem,” he continued. “The Raising the Bar Act is an innovative way to hold social media companies accountable and ensure they’re living up to their own standards when it comes to removing terrorist content from their platforms.”

Rose said he drew inspiration for the Act from the European Union’s Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online.

His bill would establish an exercise program in which online terrorist content is flagged for social media companies. During each exercise, approved flaggers would identify terrorist content to help test a company’s ability to address such content on their platforms within 24 hours.

Social media companies would then be rated on their performance in each exercise by a lead institution, such as a university or non-profit organization, which will be selected by the Department of Homeland Security.

“It’s time for social media companies to hit delete on terrorist digital content,” said Rep. Kendra Horn, of Oklahoma, the other co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security. “Too often, American social media platforms are used to promote violence and recruit for terrorist networks.

“Today’s legislation provides an innovative strategy for combating terrorist content online by providing social media companies with modern standards for accountability for the content posted on their platforms,” she added.

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