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Facebook Accused of Introducing Extremists to Each Other

By creating a system that allows users to connect, Facebook inadvertently made it easier for terrorists to meet each other.

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The social media giant just can’t catch a break. This time it’s the “suggested friends” feature has Facebook under fire yet again. Facebook recommends people as potential friends based on attributes such as mutual friends, work or education information, common interests, and location. While it is helpful for reconnecting with old friends, research suggests that the feature is also responsible for introducing extremists to each other.

According to a report by The Telegraph, research conducted by the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit organization that pressures companies to remove extremist content online, shows that thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) were introduced to each other through the “suggested friends” feature.

“The failure to effectively police its platform has allowed Facebook to become a place where extensive (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) supporting networks exist, propaganda is disseminated people are radicalized and new supporters are recruited,” one of the researchers Gregory Waters told The Telegraph.

The full study and its findings will be published by the Counter Extremism Project later this month. The report will include the extent to which Facebook helped Isil.

“There is no place for terrorists on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site, and we also remove any content that praises or supports terrorism. 99 percent of ISIS and Al Qaeda-related content we remove is found by our automated systems. We have and will continue to invest millions of pounds in both people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content.”

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Arianna is College Media Network's Weekend Editor and a student at Penn State University. She has written for various websites, including Thought Catalog and The Odyssey Online. Arianna also runs her own blog called Yoga With Mimosas in which she combines her passion for fitness and writing in hopes of inspiring and empowering others through her work.

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