News Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security – questioned executives from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the Foreign Policy Research Institute on the steps social media platforms are taking to combat the spread of extremist propaganda over the internet during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing entitled, “Terrorism and Social Media: #IsBigTechDoingEnough?”.

“In the 21st Century, fighting terrorism online is often about having more information, acquiring that information sooner and responding to that information effectively,” said Sen. Moran. “This hearing provided helpful insight into how large internet companies are proactively seeking industry-wide solutions to eliminate the harmful extremist propaganda that continues to plague the internet ecosystem. While social media companies provide an open platform for productive thoughts and ideas to be shared across the globe, there have been demonstrated abuses of this freedom by terrorist organizations using these platforms for recruitment. I am pleased these companies are taking innovative approaches to combat violent propaganda, including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to more quickly and accurately identify problematic material and increase coordination throughout the industry to identify best practices.”

Witnesses included Facebook Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, YouTube Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations Juniper Downs, Twitter Director of Public Policy and Philanthropy for the U.S. & Canada Carlos Monje, and Foreign Policy Research Institute Robert A. Fox Fellow Clinton Watts.


Sen. Moran (3:27): “What evidence, if any, do you see that terrorist organizations are changing their behavior as a result of what you’re doing?”

Mr. Watts (3:42): “In some of their forums right now, they are trying to find a platform where they can go in a secure fashion, communicate, and, you know, push their propaganda around the world. So they’re actively seeking new platforms and I think your question is a great one, which is, ‘How do we help these small companies that are developing new social media applications, who don’t have the capabilities in terms of security, ward this off?’ And I don’t think there’s a good answer for that question, but they are seeking a new home, they just haven’t found it yet.”

Click here to watch Sen. Moran’s full remarks. Click here to watch the full hearing.