London Police Partner With Facebook to Prevent Live Streaming of Terrorist and Firearm Attacks
The issue gained renewed attention after a mass shooter used Facebook to live stream his murder of over 50 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- By Haley Samsel
- Sep 20, 2019
London police have partnered up with Facebook in a new project to help prevent live streaming of terrorist and firearms attacks across the globe.
Starting in October, the London Metropolitan Police Service will provide the social media giant with footage of training exercises by its Firearms Command from the perspective of the officers. The video will help Facebook develop tech that can identify if someone is live streaming footage of a firearms attack, according to a press release from the department, which is commonly referred to as the Met.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has had a long relationship with Facebook thanks to its mission of working with companies to remove harmful terrorist material from the web. That partnership led Facebook to reach out to the Met when seeking assistance to carry out the project.
“Technology that automatically stops live streaming of attacks once identified would also significantly help prevent the glorification of such acts and the promotion of the toxic ideologies that drive them,” said Neil Basu, the U.K.’s top-ranking counter terrorism police oficer. “We welcome such efforts to prevent terrorism and its glorification and are happy to help develop this technology.”
If Facebook is successful in developing software to detect attacks, the platform could notify police of an attack early on and prevent live streaming from continuing on its site. The issue became more urgent last March after a mass shooter used Facebook to live stream his massacre of 51 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Met plans to capture footage for the project on body cameras attached to officers as they carry out regular training so that Facebook has the volume of footage it needs to develop the AI tech. Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are also providing video to Facebook, the release said.
In addition, the training videos will be shared with the U.K.’s Home Office, which oversees immigration, security and law enforcement. From there, other tech companies will be able to request the footage so they can develop similar software to detect videos taken from the “shooter perspective,” according to the release.
“This partnership with the Met Police will help train our AI systems with the volume of data needed to identify these incidents,” said Stephanie McCourt, Facebook’s law enforcement outreach lead in the U.K. “We will remain committed to improving our detection abilities and keeping harmful content off Facebook.”
About the Author
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.