Yubo is a live social discovery app founded in France in 2015 and embraced by Generation Z. In July 2023, Yubo became a member of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to reinforce the internet industry initiative’s goal of stopping terrorist and violent extremist exploitation online.
Four tech companies — Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — founded GIFCT in 2017. It’s continued to grow since then and now has 24 tech companies as members. “We look forward to expanding our support of GIFCT through this initiative and working with other member organizations to leverage technology to combat terrorism and enhance safety for all, online and offline,” stated Sacha Lazimi, Yubo’s co-founder and CEO.
For those unfamiliar, a hash is a sequence of letters and numbers of a set length that may be termed the digital fingerprint of a computer file. By becoming a GIFCT member, the social discovery platform can spot and hash content, including photos, PDFs, and videos, through GIFCT’s hash-sharing database.
The live social discovery app has 75 million users and makes it easy for Gen Z to expand their social circles and hang out online with new friends worldwide. Its involvement in the initiative allows it to use GIFCT’s hash-sharing database to recognize and remove specific questionable content. The purpose is to prevent violent extremists and terrorists from exploiting technology platforms by identifying content affiliated with terrorist publications, attacker manifestos, and United Nations-identified persons or terrorist organizations.
Lazimi stated, “GIFCT’s hash database provides Yubo with a powerful tool to further strengthen our multifaceted approach to content moderation and more effectively identify and eliminate violent extremist content at scale.”
Partnering for increased protection
GIFCT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It initiated its incident response framework in response to the March 2019 attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. Since then, the organization and its members have started communications that spread situational awareness and information relating to more than 306 terrorist or mass violence events and major online terrorist developments in 44 countries throughout six continents.
The organization and tech-led initiative offer distinctive environments for diversified shareholders to pinpoint and resolve complex global challenges at the junction of terrorism and technology. It maintains a safe and secure database of digital fingerprints — those hashes — as a place where tech companies, civil society, government, and the academic community can come together to talk about the online threat landscape.
The forum fosters discussions of ideas that spur solutions. The database contains known terrorists and violent extremist material identified by GIFCT members and removed from their digital platforms. GIFCT aims to establish a space where the technology sector amasses its collective creativity and capacity to render terrorists and violent extremists futile online. The nonprofit strives to be inclusive, transparent, and respectful of the fundamental and universal human rights that terrorists and violent extremists seek to sabotage.
Yubo is a global social discovery app with users in more than 140 countries. It supports GIFCT’s mission to stop violent extremist and terrorist manipulation through knowledge sharing, technical collaboration, and research. As a member, the social media platform can help the initiative substantially expand its hash-sharing database.
“The lifecycle of violent extremism is often extended through the dissemination of content online, and the support of member organizations like Yubo is crucial to breaking these cycles,” stated Naureen Chowdhury Frink, GIFCT executive director.
The database offers the maximum degree of privacy by ensuring that personal data is automatically protected. This approach is utilized when recording questionable content for reporting or removal because it doesn’t link to personally identifiable information. Since hashes look like digital signatures or numerical renderings of the actual content, it’s not easy to recreate the content through backward engineering.
Frink stated, “We are grateful to our GIFCT member companies for their continued collaboration in our shared mission to prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms, and we welcome the important investments Yubo has made for the safety of its community.”
Yubo seeks to make its platform as safe as it possibly can be
As a platform serving teens and young adults, Yubo makes safety its priority. In addition to becoming a member of the GIFCT hash-sharing database, it also supported the Take It Down initiative by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The Take It Down initiative is a free online service that utilizes a hash-sharing system to fight the spread of online child sexual exploitation and assists people with removing online sexually explicit, nude, or partially nude photos.
“Take It Down provides young people with a meaningful tool to better control how and where their images are used online, and its launch represents a key step in the mission to eradicate [child sexual abuse material] online,” stated Lazimi. “Take It Down serves as an added layer of safety and protection for the teens and young adults socializing on Yubo. We are proud to be a partner to NCMEC in the launch of this service and to support innovation that effectively fights the nonconsensual spread of content while preserving our users’ privacy.”
John Sheehan, vice president of NCMEC’s exploited children division and a member of the social media platform’s safety advisory board, stated, “We are thankful for the support of participating platforms like Yubo as we work to expand Take It Down and our other initiatives to make the internet safe for kids and teens.”
With safety as its cornerstone, the live social discovery app empowers young people to be authentic and connect with friends as naturally as they would offline. The app is doing this by eliminating likes and follows, which decreases the pressure of performance. It also connects users to each other in real time and allows them to interact immediately with others active on the platform.