Tech execs, U.S. officials to meet about terror groups' social media use

Tech executives and government officials were to meet up on Friday to discuss terror groups’ activities on social media.
Tech executives and government officials were to meet up on Friday to discuss terror groups’ activities on social media.

Tech executives were scheduled to meet with White House officials and heads of U.S. intelligence agencies on Friday to hear concerns about terror groups' activities on social media. Government officials have pressed tech companies to do more to clamp down on terror groups activities on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The meeting is not expected to focus on the long-running dispute between U.S. officials and technology companies regarding encryption and surveillance, but encryption will be discussed. An official told the Washington Post that FBI director James Comey would participate in the meeting on the condition that encryption was on the agenda.

Officials will look at ways to weaken the capabilities of terror groups like ISIS on social media and would like technology companies to assist in amplifying other messages.

Last month, after President Obama said he would ask tech firms “to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice,” ISIS's hacking group adapted its cyberguidelines.

In July, Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the U.S. should target the social media influence used by ISIS, or Daesh, to radicalize individuals in Western countries. “We have about 200,000 ISIS tweets per day that hit the United States,” McCaul said.

Technology companies have largely resisted officials' calls to directly assist government agencies. Underlying this debate is a sentiment that if they heed specific governments' requests – especially foreign governments, such as the U.K. – other nations will expect the same.



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