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Tim Cook and other tech executives meeting with White House to discuss terrorist use of social media

Tim Cook and other tech executives meeting with White House to discuss terrorist use of social media


Encryption may be brought up, too

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Tim Cook and a host of other tech executives will meet with top US officials tomorrow to discuss what they can do to prevent terrorist recruitment online. The meeting, initially reported by Reuters, was called by the White House and is expected to include executives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Dropbox, among others. Most companies are not believed to be sending their CEOs to the meeting, however BuzzFeed News reports that Cook will be attending on Apple's behalf. NSA director Mike Rogers, National Intelligence director James Clapper, FBI director James Comey, and attorney general Loretta Lynch are reported to be among those invited on the government's side.

The government wants to stop propaganda on social media

Social media is said to be the main topic of discussion at the meeting. The US wants to see these companies doing more to prevent ISIS, among other groups, from using social media to spread propaganda and recruit new followers. One hope is that tech companies can identify terrorist groups' recruitment patterns and flag them for law enforcement. They'll also discuss ways that social platforms can be used to counter these groups with opposing messaging.

Though Reuters reports that encryption won't be discussed at the meeting, The Washington Post says it will be a secondary topic. It's a more contentious topic, too. For years now, the US has been asking its biggest tech companies to provide more access to their data for counterterrorism purposes. But that request has clashed with the tech world's desire for privacy — something that those companies have been very thoughtful of since the NSA spying revelations in 2013. Apple in particular has strongly spoken out against government requests for a backdoor into user communications. It's likely that little has changed in the weeks since Apple last reiterated its position. Preventing hateful messaging on social media, on the other hand, may be a more agreeable subject.