On 9 and 10 July 2018, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised the tenth joint Referral Action Days with colleagues from specialized units from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. This time the campaign was focused on different platforms belonging to Google and was attended by representatives of the company.
This coordinated action against online terrorist propaganda focused mainly on the production of terrorist materials produced by the so-called “Islamic State” and “al-Qaeda” and their sympathisers. Among the items referred were propaganda videos and social media accounts glorifying or supporting terrorism and violent extremism.
Since the creation of the EU IRU, Europol has enjoyed excellent cooperation with Google in tackling terrorism online. The event was an opportunity for all parties to review the kind of content that terrorist groups attempt to disseminate online and further improve the referral process with the common aim of ensuring that material glorifying terrorism would be removed from Internet as soon as possible. As concluded by the Google representatives: “We found the action days productive and useful - good progress was made in how we continue to work together”.
Referrals of terrorist content detected by the law enforcement specialists were swiftly reviewed by respective platforms. It is, however, important to emphasise that the final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity by the platforms, taking into consideration their own terms and conditions.
During the Referral Action Days Europol promotes a coordinated approach to fighting terrorist propaganda online. Similar joint action, involving EU Member States and online industry partners, will continue to be organised on a regular basis.