Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Josh Gottheimer announced new legislation, H.R.9043, the Online Terrorism Prevention Act, to require regular disclosure of the presence of designated foreign terrorist organizations on social media websites, and to impose financial and criminal penalties for social media companies that fail to eliminate terrorist content from their platforms.
U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations are increasingly utilizing social media platforms to spread hate and extremism, recruit and raise funds for acts of terror with cryptocurrencies. The National Counterterrorism Center has previously assessed that nearly every one of the 69 designated FTOs has a social media presence.
This past year, the federal government seized millions of dollars in bitcoin tied to FTOs, the largest ever seizure of online terrorist financing. Facebook accounts linked to ISIS have also continued to evade detection on the platform, allowing them to continue to generate extremist content online.
“For too long, foreign terrorist organizations have been able to spread propaganda and misinformation on social media platforms without consequence. We must punish these bad actors and hold social media platforms accountable,” Fitzpatrick said. “By enforcing penalties on social media platforms, we will be able to address the growing presence of FTOs online and actively combat the spread of terrorist propaganda.”