Google's Eric Schmidt wants to solve online terror activity with a "spell-checker" for hate and harrasment

Lynsey Barber
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Schmidt believes tech companies should help fight terror (Source: Getty)

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has said tech companies should be involved in fighting terrorist propaganda from the likes of Islamic State (IS), as well as other online hate speech.

In an editorial for the New York Times, the tech boss made the case that the internet revolution has brought good, but also challenges: "For all the good people can do with new tools and new inventions, there are always some who will seek to do harm. Ever since there’s been fire, there’s been arson."

"As with all great advances in technology, expanded web access has also brought with it some serious challenges, like threats to free speech, qualms about surveillance and fears of online terrorist activity," he said.

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He called for a "spell-checker" for online hate and harassment, but did not elaborate on how that might work. It comes after President Obama called for tech companies to do more to tackle terrorists' use of technology "to escape justice" in the wake of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.

Schmidt continued: "We should build tools to help de-escalate tensions on social media - sort of like spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment.

"We should target social accounts for terrorist groups like the Islamic State, and remove videos before they spread, or help those countering terrorist messages to find their voice.

"Without this type of leadership from government, from citizens, from tech companies, the internet could become a vehicle for further disaggregation of poorly built societies, and the empowerment of the wrong people, and the wrong voices."

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