World Economic Forum Says Tech Firms Must Do More to Tackle Extremism

If tech firms don’t act, governments may impose regulations limiting free speech.

U.S. tech firms such as Facebook fb and Twitter twtr should be more aggressive in tackling extremism and political misinformation if they want to avoid government action, a report from the World Economic Forum said on Monday.

The study from the Swiss nonprofit organization adds to a chorus of calls for Silicon Valley to stem the spread of violent material from Islamic State militants and the use of their services by alleged Russian propagandists.

Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google goog will go under the microscope of U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday and Wednesday when their general counsels will testify before three U.S. congressional committees on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For more on Facebook and the spread of fake news, watch Fortune’s video:

The report from the World Economic Forum‘s human rights council warns that tech companies risk government regulation that would limit freedom of speech unless they “assume a more active self-governance role.”

It recommends that the companies conduct more thorough internal reviews of how their services can be misused and that they put in place more human oversight of content.

The German parliament in June approved a plan to fine social media networks up to 50 million euros if they fail to remove hateful postings promptly, a law that Monday’s study said could potentially lead to the takedown of massive amounts of content.

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At U.N., Britain to push internet firms to remove extremist content quicker

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The leaders of Britain, France and Italy will push social media companies on Wednesday to remove “terrorist content” from the internet within one to two hours of it appearing because they say that is the period when most material is spread.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni will raise the issue at an event on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

Internet companies including Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp Alphabet Inc’s Google said they will attend the meeting.

Google will be represented by general counsel Kent Walker, who will also speak on behalf of a recently formed industry group called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

Facebook is sending Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, who is expected to make remarks reiterating the companies’ commitment to combating online extremism.

Microsoft is sending Dave Heiner, a senior policy advisor.

The European Union has threatened legislation if internet companies do not step up efforts to police what is available on the web.

The British U.N. mission said May will welcome progress, but urge companies to go “further and faster” to stop groups like Islamic State spreading material that promotes extremism or shows how to make bombs or attack pedestrians with vehicles.

“Terrorist groups are aware that links to their propaganda are being removed more quickly, and are placing a greater emphasis on disseminating content at speed in order to stay ahead,” May plans to tell the event.

“Industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online, and developing technological solutions which prevent it being uploaded in the first place,” she will say.

Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, key firms created the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism in June to share technical solutions for removing extremist content and work more with counter-terrorism experts.

Twitter said it had removed 299,649 accounts in the first half of this year for the “promotion of terrorism”, a 20 percent decline from the previous six months, although it gave no reason for the drop. Three-quarters of those accounts were suspended before posting their first tweet.

May said ahead of Wednesday’s event: “We need a fundamental shift in the scale and nature of our response – both from industry and governments – if we are to match the evolving nature of terrorists’ use of the internet.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave and Joseph Menn in San Francisco; Editing by Paul Tait

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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