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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Saudi counter-extremism center works with Telegram to remove five million extremist posts in past two months
RIYADH: More than five million examples of extremist content were removed from instant messaging service Telegram in the space of just two months.
The Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, also known as Etidal, on Monday said that between July 17 and Sept. 13, its work with a task force from Telegram to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism resulted in the deletion of 5,269,078 items from the platform. They included 3,012,489 messages relating to Tahrir Al-Sham, a militant group involved in the Syrian civil war, 1,168,447 about Al-Qaeda, and 1,088,142 about Daesh.
Since the collaboration began on Feb. 21, Etidal said 7,146,016 examples of extremist content has been removed from Telegram to protect users from threats and damaging ideological influences. They include messages in Arabic that contained various types of media files, including PDFs, videos and audio recordings.
Mubarak Al-Aati, a Saudi writer and political analyst, said that Etidal is showing that it is efficient and serious in its efforts to confront the rhetoric of extremism and the ideas of terrorism. He told Arab News that the organization’s work to combat the threats on the local, regional and global levels is well known, and its work with high-profile partners such as Telegram will help to reduce the extremist influence on social media and in other public online spaces.
“It will restrict the danger of such materials to society and make pertinent bodies address their responsibilities to preserve and maintain the security of society,” said Al-Aati.
Etidal is a global organization tasked with combating and rooting out examples of extremism, addressing them, and promoting a culture of tolerance and coexistence among peoples. It was established on May 21, 2017, during the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh with the aim of promoting, monitoring and analyzing a culture of intellectual moderation in collaboration with regional and international networks. Its headquarters are located in the Saudi capital.
Al-Aati said the center has enjoyed a number of successes so far in its work to tackle the menace of extremism and terrorism. He stressed the importance of the continuation of its painstaking efforts, along with the role of the wider international community in adopting a firm stance in opposition to states that support and sponsor terrorism and extremism and try to use extremist ideologies as a way to spread havoc and chaos.
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