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Facebook launches program to combat hate speech and terrorist propaganda in the UK

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Facebook has launched an initiative in the UK to curb the spread of hate speech and extremist material online. The company’s Online Civil Courage Initiative, announced Friday, will offer funding and training to help local organizations track and counteract hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Facebook previously launched the program in France and Germany.

Today’s announcement comes one week after Facebook outlined new measures to combat terrorist propaganda and other violent material on its platform. As Reuters reports, organizations that participate in the initiative will be able to communicate with Facebook through a “dedicated support desk.” The organizations will also receive free advertising credits to promote “counter-messaging” campaigns against extremism, according to The Telegraph.

“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook,” Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said, according to Reuters. “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.”

Facebook, Twitter, and other tech companies have faced increased pressure from lawmakers across Europe to more aggressively police hate speech and other illegal content. Lawmakers in Germany are currently considering legislation that would impose fines of more than $50 million on social media companies that fail to swiftly remove hate speech, though critics say the measure could curtail free speech. Last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said they were considering similar measures, as part of a joint anti-terror campaign.

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