According to two sources, Amazon plans to take a more proactive approach to determine which types of content violate its cloud service policies, such as rules prohibiting the promotion of violence and forcing it to be deleted. This move may again trigger concerns about technology companies. The debate about how much power should be held must limit freedom of speech.

A person familiar with the matter said that in the next few months, Amazon will hire a small group of people in its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division to develop expertise and collaborate with external researchers to monitor future threats.

Experts say that it can turn Amazon, the world’s leading cloud service provider, into one of the world’s most powerful Internet content arbiters with a 40% market share according to data from research company Gartner.

Amazon made headlines in the Washington Post last week it shut down a website hosted on AWS that featured Islamic State propaganda to celebrate the deaths of an estimated 170 Afghans and 13 US troops in Kabul last Thursday Suicide bombings. According to the Washington Post, they did so after the news organization contacted Amazon.

Soon after the Congressional riots on January 6, Amazon kicked the social media app Parler from its cloud service to allow content to promote violence, so it took a proactive approach to content.

“AWS Trust & Safety is committed to protecting AWS customers, partners, and Internet users from bad actors who try to use our services for abusive or illegal purposes. When AWS Trust & Safety learns of abuses on AWS services Or illegal behavior, they will quickly take action to investigate and interact with customers to take appropriate action,” AWS said in a statement.

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“AWS Trust & Safety does not pre-review the content hosted by our customers. As AWS continues to expand, we hope that this team will continue to grow,” it added.

Activists and human rights organizations are increasingly demanding that websites and applications be responsible not only for harmful content, but also for the underlying technical infrastructure that makes these websites operate, while political conservatives condemn restrictions on freedom of speech.

In accordance with its acceptable use policy, AWS has prohibited the use of its services in various ways, such as illegal or fraudulent activities, incitement or threats of violence, or promotion of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Amazon first requires customers to delete content that violates its policies or establish a system to review content. If Amazon cannot reach an acceptable agreement with the customer, it may close the site.

According to sources, Amazon aims to develop a way to solve content problems that it and other cloud providers face more often, such as determining when the misinformation on the company’s website reaches the point where AWS takes action.

The new team in AWS does not plan to screen the company’s large amount of content hosted on the cloud, but will work to deal with future threats, such as emerging extremist groups whose content can enter the AWS cloud and add sources.

According to the recruitment information on its website, Amazon is currently recruiting the global policy leader of the AWS Trust and Security team, which is responsible for “protecting AWS from all kinds of abuse.”

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According to its website, AWS’s products include cloud storage and virtual servers, and its customers include major companies such as Netflix, Coca-Cola and Capital One.

Take the initiative

Better preparation for certain types of content can help Amazon avoid legal and public relations risks.

“If (Amazon) can proactively remove these things before they are discovered and become major news, it will be valuable to avoid reputational damage,” said Melissa Ryan, founder of CARD Strategies, a consulting firm that helps organizations understand extremes. Ism and online toxicity threats.

According to a 2019 report by Harvard University researcher Joan Donovan who studies online extremism and disinformation activities, other entities such as AWS and other entities such as cloud services and domain registrars are considered “the backbone of the Internet,” but have traditionally been politically neutral service.

But Donovan writes that cloud service providers have removed content, such as after the 2017 Alternative Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which helped slow the ability of alternative right groups to organize.

“Most of these companies don’t want to get involved in content, and they don’t want to be an arbiter of ideas, which is understandable,” Ryan said. “But when you about hatred and extremism, you have to take a stand.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021