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To fight terrorist propaganda on the Internet, social media companies, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have all instituted take down policies and teamed up with Microsoft to create a database of unique ‘fingerprints’ to automatically detect terrorist propaganda in the form of images and videos. [...] Despite these efforts, however, ISIS still continues to successfully disseminate its propaganda on the internet.

An innovative partnership between the leading private media group in the Middle East and top television writers and showrunners from the United States is taking a different approach: tackling the war of narratives. It might sound strange, or even frivolous, in the midst of an all-out war against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. But, in fact, it makes perfect sense, given the cultural, ideological nature of the larger battle against extremism.

Many people of the region today believe that the ISIS communication approach is so slick, so technological, so modern that it cannot be the work of jihadists recruited in the hinterlands of poor Muslim countries alone. There is surely something big and sophisticated behind it, with an objective in mind: kick Islamism where it hurts the most: religious credibility.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will host foreign ministers and senior officials from the 67 nations that make up the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS [...] The coalition has made great strides leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It is a perfect example of multilateral and bilateral foreign policy, just as the White House is calling for big cuts in funds to the United Nations.

The fourth round of UN-led Syria talks, dubbed Geneva 4, wrapped up last week with a tentative agreement between warring sides on an agenda for future negotiations [...] For nine days, United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura met separately with delegations from the Syrian government and three different opposition groups in an effort to end six years of bloody war.

Two rare busts rescued from the Isis group's destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra will soon be heading back to Syria, after a painstaking restoration in Italy [...] "This is an example of an issue we hold dear: that of cultural diplomacy, the fact that culture can be an instrument for dialogue between people, even when circumstances are difficult," Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini said. 

Social media heavyweights like Facebook and YouTube have been working with the U.S. government and other international partners as they look to take a more active role in combating terrorist propaganda and other extremist messages that have gained traction online. Officials from the popular social network and YouTube parent Google addressed the issue here at a recent tech policy conference.

From a digital perspective, 2016 has arguably been the year of emotions running high [...] The fact that people are emotional beings is hardly a secret, of course, especially when tragedies or high-stakes political affairs are involved. What digital platforms have brought to the table is a rather new form of commodification of human emotions as instruments of social exchange.

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