Amazon Seeks ‘More Active’ Role In Removing Banned Cloud Content

Amazon is reportedly aiming to take a more active approach to removing content that violates its cloud policies, after it was found to be hosting a propaganda website for Islamic State last week.

The company on Friday disabled a website hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure that was used by a propaganda arm of Islamic State, the Washington Post reported.

An Islamic State media group called Nida-e-Haqq was reportedly using AWS to host its content, in violation of AWS policies against extremist content.

AWS’ policies prohibit its services from being used for illegal or fraudulent activity, inciting or threatening violence and promoting child abuse, amongst other purposes.

Policy violations

The company’s acceptable use policy’s restrictions include barring the use of the service “to threaten, incite, promote, or actively encourage violence, terrorism, or other serious harm”.

The banned content was initially discovered by the extremism-monitoring organisation SITE Intelligence Group.

Amazon does not pre-review the content hosted on AWS for policy violations, and doesn’t plan to do so, responding only to reports of abuse.

However, the company is reportedly planning to expand the 100-employee team that enforces AWS policies and to take a more active role in determining when content violates its terms, Reuters reported.

The news agency cited sources as saying Amazon wants to work with outside researchers to develop expertise in monitoring for future threats.

Infrastructure

AWS is the web’s biggest cloud services provider, with 41 percent of the market, according to Gartner, more than twice that of its closest rival, Microsoft.

It handles the infrastructure for Netflix, Airbnb, Yelp and other large online services.

AWS said its Trust & Safety group “works to protect AWS customers, partners, and internet users from bad actors”.

“When AWS Trust & Safety is made aware of abusive or illegal behaviour on AWS services, they act quickly to investigate and engage with customers to take appropriate actions,” the company said in a statement.

“AWS Trust & Safety does not pre-review content hosted by our customers. As AWS continues to expand, we expect this team to continue to grow.”

Amazon removed social media app Parler from AWS shortly after the 6 January Capitol riot for permitting content promoting violence, a move that took the app offline for weeks.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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