“eGLYPH”: an innovative new algorithm that identifies extremist content on Internet and social media platforms


On Tuesday, 4th October 2016, the European Foundation for Democracy and the Counter Extremism Project hosted a closed-door lunch briefing to discuss how to best tackle the problem of online extremism.

In June 2016, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) announced the development of a technological solution, "eGLYPH", that will allow Internet and social media companies to quickly remove extremist content from their platforms. This new technology has been developed by CEP Senior Advisor Dr. Hany Farid, a Professor and Chair of Dartmouth College's Computer Science Department. In short, eGLYPH works through an algorithm which analyses an image, video, or audio file and creates what is known as a unique "hash" for that file. Social media and tech companies can run content through Farid's algorithm, and if that content matches a hash identified as "extremist," the company could automatically flag it or remove it altogether. To operationalise this new technology to combat extremism, CEP has proposed a National Office for Reporting Extremism (NORex), which will house a comprehensive database of extremist content. The new tool will be able to immediately identify this content online and flag it for removal for any technology company utilising the hashing algorithm.

Guest Speaker:

David Ibsen serves as Executive Director for CEP, which works to combat the growing threat of extremism and extremist ideology. He writes regularly on security and foreign policy issues, and is also a frequent commentator in print and on television about the dangers of extremist ideology, the misuse of communications and social media platforms by extremist groups to recruit and radicalise, and the Iranian nuclear program, among other related issues. He has appeared on CNN Newsroom, Al Jazeera America and Fox Business. Previously, David served as a Policy Analyst for the U.S. Department of State and as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. Prior to the UN, David worked as an advisor for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).