AWS has no plans to crawl the huge amounts of content that companies host in the cloud

According to two sources, Amazon.com Inc plans to take a more proactive approach to determining what types of content are violating its cloud service policies, e.g. tech companies should need to restrict freedom of expression.

In the coming months, Amazon will expand the Trust & Safety team in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) division and hire a small group of people to develop expertise and work with outside researchers to monitor future threats, one of the sources that said with the thing.

According to the research company Gartner, it could turn Amazon, the world’s leading cloud service provider with a 40% market share, into one of the world’s most powerful arbitrators for content permitted on the Internet, experts say.

AWS does not plan to crawl the massive amounts of content that companies host in the cloud, but will attempt to forestall future threats such as emerging extremist groups whose content could make it to the AWS cloud, the source added. p>

A day after the story was published, an AWS spokesperson told Reuters that the news agency’s coverage was “wrong,” adding, “AWS Trust & Safety has no plans to change its policies or processes, and the team has always existed. “

Amazon hit the Washington Post on August 27 for shutting down a website hosted on AWS that contained Islamic State propaganda celebrating the suicide bombing that killed an estimated 170 Afghans and 13 US troops in Kabul last Thursday became. They did so after the news organization contacted Amazon, the Post said.

Discussions about a more proactive approach to content came after Amazon dumped the Parler social media app from its cloud service shortly after the January 6th Capitol Riot for allowing violent content.

Amazon didn’t immediately comment on Thursday’s release of the story. Later that day, following the release, an AWS spokesperson said, “AWS Trust & Safety works to protect AWS customers, partners and Internet users from malicious actors who try to use our services for improper or illegal purposes. If AWS Trust & Safety is made aware of abusive or illegal behavior on AWS services, act quickly to investigate and contact customers to take appropriate action. “

The spokesperson added, “AWS Trust & Safety does not review content hosted by our customers. As AWS continues to expand, we expect this team to keep growing. ”

Activists and human rights groups are increasingly blaming not only websites and apps for harmful content, but also the underlying technical infrastructure that enables the operation of these websites, while political conservatives denounce the restriction of freedom of expression.

AWS already prohibits the use of its services in a number of ways, such as: B. For illegal or fraudulent activities to incite or threaten violence, or to promote the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, according to its Acceptable Use Policy.

Amazon investigates requests to the Trust & Safety team to verify their accuracy before contacting customers to remove content that violates the guidelines or to set up a content moderation system. If Amazon cannot reach an acceptable agreement with the customer, Amazon can close the website.

Amazon is striving to develop an approach to content problems that it and other cloud providers face more often, e.g.

A job posting on Amazon’s job website promoting a position as Global Head of Policy at AWS Trust & Safety, which Reuters last saw before this story was posted on Thursday, was no longer available on the Amazon website Friday.

Describes the ad, which is still available on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/global-head-of-policy-aws-trust-safety-at-amazon-web-services-aws-2706375665 the new role of “identifying policy gaps and proposing scalable solutions”, “developing frameworks for risk assessment and decision-making” and “developing efficient mechanisms for problem escalation”.

The Amazon spokesperson said the job posting on the Amazon website was temporarily removed from the Amazon website for processing and should not have been published in its draft form.

AWS offers cloud storage and virtual servers and, according to its website, has large companies such as Netflix, Coca-Cola and Capital One among its customers.

Better preparation for certain types of content could help Amazon avoid legal and PR risks.

“If (Amazon) can proactively get rid of some of this before it is discovered and becomes a big headline, there is a benefit in avoiding that reputational damage,” said Melissa Ryan, founder of CARD Strategies, a consultancy that helps organizations Understand extremism and online toxicity threats.

Cloud services like AWS and other entities like domain registrars are considered the “backbone of the Internet,” but have traditionally been politically neutral services, according to a 2019 report by Joan Donovan, a Harvard researcher who studies online extremism and disinformation campaigns .

But cloud service providers have already removed content, such as after the 2017 alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is helping to slow down the organizing ability of alt-right groups, Donovan wrote.

“Most of these companies understandably didn’t want to be into content and didn’t want to be the arbiter of thoughts,” said Ryan. “But when it comes to hatred and extremism, you have to take a stand.”

This story was released from a news agency feed with no changes to the text. Only the headline was changed.

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