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START researchers participate in Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) Global Summit


START researchers participate in Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) Global Summit

August 17, 2021Erin Copland

In July, START Director William Braniff participated in the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) Global Summit.

The GIFCT is an independent industry body created initially as a joint enterprise by Facebook, Twitter, Google/YouTube and Microsoft to counter terrorism in the online space. Braniff holds an advisory role on the GIFCT Independent Advisory Committee (IAC).

For the Summit, Braniff co-authored a paper on “A Practical Taxonomy for Online Terrorist Content,” which was included in the report on the GIFCT taxonomy effort, titled “Broadening the GIFCT Hash-Sharing Database Taxonomy: An Assessment and Recommended Next Steps.”

Global Terrorism Database (GTD) Program Manager Dr. Erin Miller also wrote an article for the report, on “Taxonomy Expansion and the Global Terrorism Database: Effectively Leveraging Academic Data Collection Initiatives.”

“As tech companies grapple with really difficult questions to minimize extremist exploitation of their platforms - how to decide what content to moderate and how to moderate it – they have turned to START researchers among other experts from the human rights field and the tech sector,” Braniff said.

“In this instance, Dr. Miller was able to highlight the potential value of harnessing the objectivity and transparency of the GTD as a reliable source of authority for tech platforms,” Braniff said. “In our second paper, we advocated for the inclusion of violent manifestos in content moderation regimes – a policy decision that was actually adopted by the GIFCT based in large part on this recommendation. For an organization like START, it is incredibly gratifying to see our work result in real-world improvements to our collective responses to asymmetric threats.”