AWS will start monitoring for extremist content on its cloud

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Amazon is reportedly set to become more proactive in removing content from its cloud computing service AWS that violate its policies.

AWS’ plans reportedly follow last week’s development when the platform shut down a Islamic State propaganda website after it was brought to their attention by the Washington Post.

AWS has exercised such control earlier as well, most notably when it terminated the service of the right-leaning social media network Parler following the US Capitol riots in January.

Policing hate content

The development comes from two anonymous sources who shared details of AWS’ content moderation plans with Reuters.

AWS already has a dedicated team called AWS Trust & Safety whose mandate it is to take note of any reported abusive content hosted on its service.

"AWS Trust & Safety works to protect AWS customers, partners, and internet users from bad actors attempting to use our services for abusive or illegal purposes....AWS Trust & Safety does not pre-review content hosted by our customers,” AWS said in a statement.

According to one of the sources, the company is all set to begin hiring domain experts who’ll engage with external researchers to shore up the moderation policy and ensure adherence.

The sources claim that instead of rummaging through existing content, the new team will be tasked with monitoring future threats, such as emerging extremist groups that might use AWS for spreading their fake news and propaganda.

The plans, which haven’t yet been publicly announced by the company, will surely draw both bouquets and brickbats. While the move will be welcomed by campaigners against harmful content who’ve been calling for cloud storage platforms to take a more proactive approach towards curbing the dissemination of abusing narratives, it will be panned by proponents of free speech. 

Update: An AWS spokesperson, in a statement to TechRadar Pro, has denied reports of any changes to its content moderation policies:

“Reuters’ reporting is wrong. AWS Trust & Safety has no plans to change its policies or processes, and the team has always existed.”

Via Reuters

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.