The winding narrow lane made it very difficult to manoeuvre the car. My father and I walked the stretch, showed our IDs at the gate and were waved in by a friendly keeper of the house. The ground floor had been freshly renovated with elevators. We took the lift and saw walls that were bombed out with bullet marks all over the ceiling. It is difficult to visit Nariman House in Mumbai and not feel the darkness of the 26/11 attacks and not fully comprehend the precision, pre-work, reconnaissance that would have gone into finding where the Rabbi and his family stayed as a target for the terrorists to hit.
26/11 was the first time technology was used for orchestrating large-scale terrorist attacks in India. As a platform, Facebook is deeply aware that terrorists use a variety of tools to plan, co-ordinate attacks and propagate, radicalise and recruit. There is no place for terrorism or terrorist content on Facebook. Our community standards strictly prohibit and ban the presence of individuals or organisations engaged in terrorist activity. We do not allow praise or valourisation of terrorism on our platform.
This year, so far we have taken down more than 14 million pieces of terrorist content. We use a variety of signals, image matching, other AI and machine learning tools to identify al Qaeda and its affiliates and proactively weed them out from our platform. This year we took down 99 per cent of ISIS and al Qaeda content before it was reported by anyone in our community. We have a team of counter-terrorism experts — these experts are former prosecutors, law enforcement officials, investigators, academics, counter-terrorism researchers. We also have human reviewers with a wide range of linguistic capabilities covering most languages which are spoken in terror hotspots.
Over the years we have observed that most terror networks are global networks. In order to identify dangerous or terrorist organisations we look at the US-designated foreign terrorist organisations list. We also look at proscribed lists issued by the Government of India. Examples of such organisations that are banned on Facebook include the Hizbul Mujhahideen, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent or AQIS.
26/11 taught us several strategic security lessons on the need to organise ourselves better across a range of areas — state and security action, information operations in the real and virtual world, crisis response and emergency co-ordination. It also taught us about civic courage and resilience. Last year, I learnt about Preeti Bisht. Preeti is Ashok Chakra awardee Havildar Gajendra Singh Bisht’s daughter. Havildar Bisht fell while flushing out terrorists from Nariman House as the National Security Guards fought back the attack. Preeti is now readying herself to join the Indian army.
This is the 10th anniversary of the 26/11 attakcs. There have been a number of heinous global terrorism incidents and a rise in the number of failed states. Global terrorism incidents claimed 18,700 lives in over 8,500 terrorist attacks across the world in 2017. In India alone, there have been 77 major terror incidents this year, according to the latest figures by the Institute for Conflict Management. At the same time, we have seen growing community action to build safe communities and efforts to de-radicalise groups. We see many such campaigns on our platform.
I went to Nariman House with my father to understand the power of community to rebuild, experience resilience, hope and to situate the work that many of my colleagues do every day to fight terrorism.