Europol, the European law enforcement agency, conducted a 2-day gathering of European law intelligence and enforcement services, attended by representatives from Google, to improve the tracking and removal of online terrorist propaganda being disseminated on various Google platforms.
On 9 and 10 July 2018, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organized the tenth joint Referral Action Days with colleagues from specialized units from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This time the campaign was focused on different platforms belonging to Google and was attended by representatives of the company.
This coordinated action against online terrorist propaganda focused mainly on the production of terrorist materials produced by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and their sympathizers. Among the items referred were propaganda videos and social media accounts glorifying or supporting terrorism and violent extremism.
Europol says that since the creation of the EU IRU, Google has cooperated with Europol in tackling terrorism online. The event was an opportunity for all parties to review the kind of content that terrorist groups attempt to disseminate online and further improve the referral process with the aim of ensuring that material glorifying terrorism would be removed from internet as soon as possible. As Google representatives said: “We found the action days productive and useful – good progress was made in how we continue to work together.”
Referrals of terrorist content detected by the law enforcement specialists were reviewed by respective platforms. Europol emphasizes, however, that the final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity by the platforms, taking into consideration their own terms and conditions.
Europol notes that during the Referral Action Days, Europol promotes a coordinated approach to fighting terrorist propaganda online. Similar joint action, involving EU Member States and online industry partners, will continue to be organized on a regular basis.