What specific content is removed also seems to differ across platforms, though most are concerned about “terrorist and violent extremist content (TVEC).” Removed content also varies across platforms because of how content is flagged and taken down. Some companies rely more heavily on user reports, while others place much of the responsibility on content reviewers. However, most social media platforms, like YouTube and Facebook, are moving towards an increased reliance on automated flagging systems, that at times are being used without additional human oversight.
Another issue with removed social media content is the variance law enforcement faces when requesting access to these materials. For instance, while many law enforcement agencies on the national level can manage to access content via “the use of warrants, subpoenas, and court orders,” international investigators “cannot rely on subpoenas and search warrants to access privately held information.” That being said, there have been several instances of national and international criminal cases being heavily aided by social media content, leading to actual convictions.
For more information on related topics, visit the HSDL Featured Topics on Global Terrorism, Cyber Crime and National Security, Cyber Policy, and Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism. Additional resources related to Social Media Censorship, Law Enforcement, and International Law are also available. Please note: HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.
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Author: Victoria Vanderzielfultz