US to form new task force to fight online militant propaganda

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
White House Forms New Task Force To Combat ISIS Propaganda

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Obama administration is forming a new task force dedicated to improving its ability to counter the use of social media and online propaganda by the Islamic State and other militant groups, the White House said on Friday.

The new group will be led by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice and will involve other federal and local agencies.

Announcement of the new Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, came as leading executives from U.S. technology companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, met on Friday with senior national security officials to discuss how to better thwart violent extremists' use of the Internet.

President Barack Obama is working to reassure the public that his administration is succeeding in its fight against Islamic State in the wake of recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

Apple's Cook will attend the 90-minute huddle in San Jose, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo and LinkedIn are also planning to send senior executives, and other leading firms have been invited.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that he did not expect any "breakthrough announcements or agreements to emerge" from the talks.

See what life is like under ISIS rule:

26 PHOTOS
What life looks like under ISIS rule
See Gallery
US to form new task force to fight online militant propaganda
A civilian woman carries her child during a battle with Islamic State militants, east of Mosul, Iraq, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
Civilians walk past Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) during a battle with Islamic State militants, east of Mosul, Iraq, January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
A displaced man, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, carries a woman in the Mithaq district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke rises from clashes during a battle with Islamic State militants in the Mithaq district of eastern Mosul, Iraq, January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
An Iraqi soldier is seen during a battle with Islamic State militants, north of Mosul, Iraq, December 30, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Iraqi people flee the Islamic State stronghold in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi people flee the Islamic State stronghold in the town of Bartella, east of Mosul, December 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Iraqi rapid response forces cook food in their headquarters during the war against the Islamic state militants east of Mosul, Iraq, December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
Mohammad Hassan, whose hand was chopped off by Islamic State militants, sits outside a house at Nimrud village, south of Mosul, Iraq, December 13, 2016. Picture taken December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Displaced Iraqi boys, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, warm themselves by a fire in Khazer camp, Iraq,December 15, 2016.REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Displaced Iraqi woman, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, bids her relatives farewell as she leave Khazer camp to go home, Iraq December 10, 2016.REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Iraqi Christians come to visit the heavily damaged Church of the Immaculate Conception after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State in Qaraqosh, near Mosul, Iraq, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
An Iraqi father (L) mourns the death of his son, who was killed during clashes in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, in al-Samah neighborhood, Iraq December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
An Iraqi girl, who was wounded during clashes in the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, lies on a bed at a field hospital in al-Samah neighborhood, Iraq December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Displaced people who fled the clashes transfer to camps during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, November 30, 2016 REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani
A member of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) gestures in military vehicle during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, November 30, 2016 REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man gestures as other men sit on the ground as an Iraqi Special forces intelligence team check their ID cards as they search for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq November 27, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Two men hold hands as an Iraqi Special forces intelligence team searches for Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq November 27, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters are seen in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Boys stand in front of oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Civilians flee fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq, November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke rises from clashes during a battle with Islamic State militants at the airport of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of Shi'ite fighters carries a weapon during a battle with Islamic State militants at the airport of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A displaced woman from the outskirts of Mosul covers herself in a blanket in the town of Bashiqa, after it was recaptured from the Islamic State, east of Mosul, Iraq, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
A girl attends classes after the city was recaptured from the Islamic State militants in Qayyara, Iraq, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

The dialogue will focus on how to combat the use of social media by the Islamic State to "recruit, radicalize and mobilize" its followers, according to an agenda circulated among participants. It will also cover how technology can be used to better disrupt paths to violence and identify recruitment patterns, in addition to creating "alternative content" that can "undercut" Islamic State.

Law enforcement's struggles to crack encrypted communications used by criminal suspects is also on the agenda but is not expected to be a central focus, sources said.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough will lead the meeting, and other invited officials include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, National Intelligence Director James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.

Islamic State has used the Internet in unprecedented ways to spread its message of violent jihad. A 2015 Brookings report found that the militant group had operated at least 46,000 Twitter accounts during a three-month period in 2014.

Several social media companies have updated their terms of service within the last 18 months to take a tougher stance against content that can incite violence, but some are reluctant to appear too cooperative with the government because of privacy and commercial concerns.

Twitter, long maligned for being less cooperative than other companies such as Facebook, updated its policies last week to explicitly prohibit "hateful conduct."

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday the cooperation between technology companies and law enforcement is critical.

"We want these companies to be globally successful, and need their help in the fight against terror," he said.

More from AOL.com:
The best school districts in the US are revealed
Gruesome 1983 'Baby Moses' cold case reemerges
Man attacks police officer 'in the name of Islam'

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners