Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and ADL Announce Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab

October 10, 2017

Today, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft are building on existing collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the world’s leading organizations aimed at combating anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds, to establish the Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab (The Lab). Engaging engineers and focused on technical solutions, the companies will engage with ADL to exchange ideas, investigate areas of common risk and opportunity, and seek to innovate new approaches to identify and combat online hate.

For as long as two decades, many of us in the tech community have worked with ADL to understand and address the problem of online hate while at the same time respecting principles of free expression. Together, we have met and conferred about the best approaches to reduce and counter the proliferation of hate speech online. Underlying this collaborative work has been the understanding that online hate interferes with the free expression of users and can also encourage hate crimes and violence.

As hate and extremist content continues to manifest itself and evolve, however, the time is ripe for a new collaborative approach. In order to explore new strategies to tackle this issue, we are now expanding our relationship with ADL so that we can leverage collective resources and ideas and seek to root out hate on our respective platforms.

Industry collaboration has similarly pioneered new approaches to large-scale issues of public interest such as addressing terrorism content online, tackling child sexual abuse material on the open web and supporting disaster relief. This initiative will build off those successful models as it seeks to impact an issue of current concern. Each company will draw on this new learning to implement solutions that fit its own policies and products, including its rules for what content to allow and its practices for reporting content.

The Lab will be managed by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society (CTS) in Silicon Valley. ADL will advise participants on policy considerations such as preserving the First Amendment even as it offers insight on how hate and extremist content manifests itself – and continues to evolve – online.

We will convene our first meeting this month to define the scope of our agenda and to lay out initial objectives. The Lab hopes to report on progress on the effort in the first quarter of 2018.