News & Politics

Government Wants Twitter and Facebook to Help Battle Online Islamic Extremism

So this is a thing that’s real.

The U.S. government, acknowledging its limited success in combating Islamic extremist messaging, is recruiting tech companies, community organizations and educational groups to take the lead in disrupting online radicalization.

The change in strategy, which took a step forward on Wednesday when the Justice Department convened a meeting with social media firms including Facebook Inc, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s Google , comes despite what critics say is scant evidence on the effectiveness of such efforts.

The meeting was “a recognition that the government is ill-positioned and ill-equipped to counter ISIS online,” Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, said after attending the event, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

The federal government is not best placed to counter extremist online recruitment efforts with messaging of its own, said George Selim, director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office that coordinates the government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) activities.

The weird thing about this, as any conservative who has been immersed in social media knows, is that the major social media platforms are too heavily invested in being politically correct regarding all things Islamic to be helpful here at all. Twitter’s got its new “Safety Council” and I can’t count how many conservatives I know who have been suspended from Facebook for being honest about radical Islam.

As we have seen with the recent battle between the FBI and Apple over the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone, the tech crowd really isn’t interested in battling Islamic terrorism at all. It’s more important for them to be perceived as cool champions of civil liberties (which cease to exist when you get killed by a Pakistani jihadi woman imported via Saudi Arabia, by the way).

It’s not that this idea is at its core a bad one, it’s that the people the government needs this help from aren’t really grounded in reality enough to be effective.