Tech executives, U.S. officials to confer on militants' social media use

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2016 3:40 PM

By Dustin Volz and Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior White House officials and U.S. intelligence and law enforcement figures will meet with Silicon Valley executives on Friday to discuss the use of social media by militant groups, sources familiar with the meeting said on Thursday.

In an escalation of pressure on technology firms to do more to combat online Islamic militant propaganda from groups like Islamic State, the meeting follows attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California that focused increased attention on the role played by social media sites such as Twitter<TWTR.N>, YouTube and Facebook<FB.O>.

Invited participants include White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, presidential counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, one of the sources said.

A source familiar with the meeting said it would focus on social media content, not encrypted communications, another topic of discussion between Silicon Valley and the White House.

Twitter last week updated its policies for policing its content to explicitly prohibit "hateful conduct." Other websites have similarly updated and clarified their abuse policies within the past 18 months.

The meeting's priorities, outlined by an agenda circulated with participants, include how to make it harder for militants to recruit and mobilize followers on social media as well as helping ordinary users create, publish and amplify content that can undercut groups like Islamic State.

According to the agenda, the meeting also will touch on how technology can be used to disrupt paths to violent radicalization and identify recruitment patterns, and how to make it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to identify militant operatives.

Twitter Inc confirmed that it will have at least one representative attending the meeting but said its CEO Jack Dorsey will not be participating.

The White House and Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Will Dunham)