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Home Affairs’ online team referred over 1,500 violent or extremist items for take-down

The Department of Home Affairs has a dedicated team to find content on social media sites that promotes hate, incites violence, or points to terrorist propaganda. The team then works with social media platforms to have that content removed.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2021, 1,559 pieces of terrorist and violent extremist content were referred. 95% of that, or 1,486 items, were in the religiously motivated violent extremism space. 3%, or 51 pieces of content, were defined as being ideologically motivated violent extremist material. The remaining 2% was not defined.

The team has a budget of around AU$3 million.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) as part of its inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia, Dr Richard Johnson, first assistant secretary of Home Affairs’ Social Cohesion team, said this isn’t necessarily reflective of the amount of content that’s out there, as the platforms themselves engage in their own takedown procedures.

But there are some platforms that don’t have a referral function, which Johnson said points usually to the nature of those particular sites.

While the Home Affairs team deals with the more mainstream platforms — such as Facebook and Instagram and Twitter — it also […]

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