As GIFCT’s first full year with an Executive Director and staff in place, our focus for Twitter’s term as Chair of GIFCT’s Operating Board has been to position the organization on a strong strategic and programmatic path for the future, with robust governance and solid financial structures in place. This year, GIFCT has made substantial progress in a number of areas, celebrated many successes, and continued to grow as an organization.
Upon assuming the role of Operating Board Chair, we set out five key priorities:
I. Foundational Principles
Twitter’s vision for the Operating Board was to set a strategic and operational plan for GIFCT to ensure its long-term success. We approved GIFCT’s three-year strategic plan, 2022 budget, and strategic objectives guided by a renewed Mission, Vision, Values Statement.
GIFCT also conducted its first human rights impact assessment, an important landmark that has already led to change and will be a foundational resource going forward.
II. Membership Diversity
Broadening GIFCT’s membership is a key way to increase GIFCT’s impact, while ensuring that all members contribute to the work of GIFCT and disrupt terrorist use of the internet. To date, GIFCT is on track to double its December 2019 membership and has increased its membership from 9 to 18 companies. And, it’s also encouraging that there are more than 10 companies currently in the Tech Against Terrorism mentorship process. The GIFCT Member Resource Guide, an expansive online compendium that includes 100+ open-source safety, transparency, counterspeech, and digital literacy resources from across all GIFCT member platforms, is now live and being used by members.
III. Crisis Response
One of our priorities was to ensure that GIFCT has a robust Incident Response Framework in place, particularly where there is no live-stream element to an attack, but the harm from other content is potentially severe. GIFCT announced a broadened Crisis Response framework that now includes a framework for sharing situational awareness in a broader range of incidents, including those that do not include livestream or video content. This enables GIFCT’s membership to respond to a wider range of incidents and content types.
Operating Board members and GIFCT staff participated in the Christchurch Call To Action’s Crisis Response Working Group. Their efforts developed a working plan that provides guidance to strengthen the coordination between GIFCT’s and other existing crisis response protocols, bridges identified gaps, and increases information sharing. We also focused on aligning GIFCT’s crisis response efforts with other protocols to address gaps in existing structures.
IV. Evolving Threat Landscape
Throughout 2021, GIFCT began the important work of the ever evolving threat landscape, particularly the rise of violent far-right extremism globally. In its early days, GIFCT’s and the Internet Forum’s focus was on ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Through expanding the hash-sharing database’s taxonomy and hosting multiple e-learning webinars on violent far-right and conspiracy theory extremists, GIFCT has equipped its members with the tools needed to remove this content from their platforms.
Finally, GIFCT plays an important role in convening, educating, and informing the broader stakeholder community about the actions that members have taken to disrupt TVEC. From July 2020-2021, GIFCT convened more than 600 participants from tech, government, civil society, and academic partners around the world through monthly e-learnings with our partner Tech Against Terrorism. Although GIFCT’s traditional in-person workshops have been paused through the pandemic, GIFCT most recently held a successful virtual workshop in partnership with the Ghanian Government focused on West African trends in terrorism and counterterrorism.
We are grateful for the collaboration and support provided by the GIFCT team, Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) members, Operating Board members, and other GIFCT stakeholders during our term as Chair. While there remains much work to do, we are pleased with GIFCT’s success and expansion during 2021 and are excited about the continuation of both during YouTube’s tenure as Operating Board Chair in 2022.
Read the GIFCT 2021 Annual Report