This page shares the annual themes and outputs of GIFCT working groups. In July 2020, GIFCT launched a series of working groups to focus on critical themes related to countering terrorism and violent extremism online. Working groups bring together experts from diverse stakeholder groups, geographies and disciplines to offer advice in specific thematic areas and deliver on targeted, substantive projects. Each year working groups are refreshed to update themes and focus areas and to allow new participants to join. Participants work with GIFCT to prepare strategic work plans, outlining objectives, goals, strategies, deliverables, and timelines.
From August 2021 to July 2022 GIFCT Working Groups will focus on the following themes:
- Technical Approaches: Tooling, Algorithms & Artificial Intelligence
- Transparency: Best Practices & Implementation
- Crisis Response & Incident Protocols
- Positive Interventions & Strategic Communications
- Legal Frameworks
From August 2021 to July 2022, the Technical Approaches: Tooling, Algorithms & Artificial Intelligence working group is considering some of the following questions:
- What technical solutions can be used to prevent/mitigate unintended consequences of algorithms and AI?
- How can tooling and tactics be implemented for smaller platforms?
- What technical approaches beyond photo/video hashing can be used to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms, including within recommendation features?
- What technical safeguards, oversight, and best-practices are needed to ensure safety by design and protection of human rights while member companies carry out tools-based internal operations?
From August 2020 to July 2021, the Technical Approaches working group focused on evaluating existing tooling and technical approaches in countering terrorism and violent extremism online alongside apparent gaps in the availability of technical solutions for smaller tech platforms. The group discussed approaches in supporting the development and adoption of technological solutions to prevent and disrupt the spread of terrorist content online and assessed ethical and human rights concerns associated with various technical approaches. The co-leads of the working group developed an Executive Summary covering key themes from their efforts and Tech Against Terrorism produced an in-depth assessment with recommendations for future technical approaches; A Gap Analysis and Recommendations for deploying technical solutions to tackle the terrorist use of the internet.
From August 2021 to July 2022 the working group on Transparency: Best Practices and Implementation will consider some of the following questions:
- What other sectors can we look to for best practices on transparency reporting and communication to key stakeholders?
- What are frameworks and examples of algorithmic transparency that can help guide the tech community?
- What are the key barriers for tech companies in sharing API access or meaningful data with researchers?
- What further support can be given to platforms approaching their first transparency report?
From August 2020 to July 2021, the Transparency Working Group focused on reviewing existing resources and frameworks that could facilitate greater transparency from tech companies and wider relevant stakeholders while respecting privacy and human rights. As a result, the group produced a report providing tech companies and related government stakeholders with recommendations and frameworks for pursuing greater transparency in their work. The group also produced recommendations for GIFCT in its own transparency efforts.
Crisis Response & Incident Protocols
2021 Working Group Output
This year, The Crisis Response and Incident Protocols working group is reviewing the roles and expectations of different sectors, global protocols, and amongst individual technology companies and governments when responding to an incident while ensuring protocols are protecting human rights. The working group will further work on some of the following questions:
- What are best practices to ensure refinement and readiness of different global protocols (Eg. Christchurch Call, GIFCT, European Union) and other domestic law enforcement protocols?
- What is the role of each sector and network within the different incident response protocols?
- Where can GIFCT further facilitate crisis response and where is it up to individual companies and law enforcement entities?
- What is the impact of these protocols on human rights and how can we ensure that they are appropriately balanced and protected?
From August 2020 to July 2021, the Crisis Response Working Group matured the communication system between member companies and broader stakeholders during an incident with the development of the Incident Response Directory of all vital points of contact included and accessible during a violent attack. The working group also created a formal debrief process to further improve GIFCT’s Content Incident Protocol (CIP) and worked with government stakeholders on the information they seek during and after an incident.
The Positive Interventions & Strategic Communications working group is evaluating some of the following questions:
- How best can we turn passive counter-narrative exposure into active strategic communications in order to facilitate disengagement?
- What newer and smaller platforms are available to launch positive interventions in order to reach target audiences?
- How do we upscale and optimize global public-private partnerships between platforms and NGOs developing intervention campaigns?
- Where can positive interventions become more automated or proactively surfaced across platforms based on user behaviour or signals?
From August 2020 to July 2021, the working group was known as Content-Sharing Algorithms and Processes and Strategic Interventions (CAPPI). During its first year of output, the working group provided the space for collaboration across industry, government, and civil society to map content-sharing algorithms and processes in order to identify opportunities for positive interventions as well as risk mitigation, while countering the consumption of specific content that could increase someone’s interest in or otherwise amplify terrorist and violent extremism.
As a result, the CAPPI working group has produced two Research Briefs, one focussed on Content-Sharing Algorithms and Processes, which maps the type of algorithmic processes that could be exploited by violent extremists and terrorists. The second briefing looks at Positive Interventions with a range of international case studies.
2021 Working Group Output
From August 2021 to July 2022, the Legal Frameworks working group is furthering efforts on some of the following questions:
- What barriers are tech companies facing in increasing API access to data for researchers?
- What are the intellectual property barriers in considerations for “algorithmic transparency”?
- Where do we see legal regulations and policies in different parts of the world that are posing challenges for tech companies in solving for privacy versus security?
- Where can we provide better guidance for smaller companies looking to innovate while also complying with increasing regulation?
From August 2020 to July 2021, the Legal Frameworks working group looked at some of the existing legal frameworks in terms of challenges and opportunities for sharing information and data related to the moderation of terrorist and violent extremist content online. This was reviewed through a lens for ensuring privacy, innovation, and empowering all stakeholders (governments, civil society organizations, and tech companies), resulting in a report on the group’s analysis.
From August 2020 to July 2021, the Academic and Practical Research working group explored innovative, multi-sector research collaborations and developing baseline best practices for conducting, funding, and supporting research that addresses the nexus of technology and violent extremism. The group produced a paper on Research Needs to Prevent and Respond to Terrorist and Violent Extremist Activity Online as well as a comprehensive white paper on Extremism Research Horizons.
This working group continues with longer-term deliverables as it transitions into the infrastructure of the Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET), which has more attention on and GIFCT funding towards, academics working on terrorism and violent extremism.