Recap: “Combatting Terrorist Content: The Social Media Challenge”

David Tessler, public policy manager on the Dangerous Organization team at Facebook, and Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, take part in a public program with Clifford Chanin, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum executive vice president, at the Museum auditorium.
David Tessler of Facebook and Joan Donovan of the Harvard Kennedy School discuss combatting violent extremism on social media. Photo by Monika Graff.

On Tuesday, November 5, David Tessler, public policy manager on the Dangerous Organization team at Facebook, and Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, discussed the challenges that Facebook and other social media platforms face in countering violent extremism.

In conversation with Cliff Chanin, executive vice president and deputy director for museum programs, Tessler said not every terrorist group behaves the same and that platforms must respond accordingly to understand how groups may try to subvert screening systems.

“ISIS, from its inception, has been very interested in broadcasting out to the widest group of people to try to build the widest following. Al-Qaeda has always been a little bit different than that in trying to, I wouldn't say ‘bespoke,’ but trying to curate their message and their followers a little bit more carefully,” Tessler said.

Donovan discussed how social media companies are evolving in the way they address the proliferation of extremist content on their platforms.

“Platform companies are now interested in thinking about hate speech, thinking about its impacts, but also understand the question of youth radicalization differently than they had done before,” Donovan said.

David Tessler of Facebook and Joan Donovan of the Harvard Kennedy School discuss combatting violent extremism on social media.

2019_1105_Social Media_Highlight-2_(Caps)

You can view the full program hereFind out more about the fall 2019 public programming season at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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