Amazon is planning more aggressive moderation of its hosting platform

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According to a new report from Reuters, Amazon is preparing to increase its in-house moderation staff for Amazon Web Services. According to the story, Amazon is intending to establish a proactive threat monitoring capability within AWS, which will seek for prohibited content on AWS servers and remove it before it is reported by customers, citing two individuals within the firm.

AWS has long had an Acceptable Use Policy that prohibits the service from being used for computer intrusions, spam, or the advocacy of violence or other crimes. However, enforcement of those rules has been mostly reactive, with external user reports frequently being used to detect unlawful content. While the regulation itself will not change, AWS will be placed in the same category as large platforms such as Facebook and YouTube due to the severe enforcement approach.

Terrorism experts have previously asked on hosting platforms to take a more aggressive approach, with one essay in 2019 directly targeting Amazon. “Companies must proactively check what is on their platforms to ensure they are not accidentally hosting it,” the editorial states, rather than waiting for it to be exposed by outsiders.

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Apple recently launched a contentious technique to proactively check for child abuse imagery in iCloud photos, and this move follows in their footsteps.

The shift toward proactive moderation is expected to stoke conservative fears about AWS censorship, which began when Amazon abruptly stopped hosting Parler after the company failed to remove a string of violent threats. Following the decision, Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon, but it was unsuccessful in court.

Some components of that transformation appear to have already begun. According to Reuters, Amazon shut down an ISIS-linked website earlier this week after following a trail left by an offshoot group’s app, which was not housed on the service.

It’s part of CEO Andy Jassy’s larger hiring push, as he was formerly in charge of AWS. Jassy aims to add up to 55,000 new people in tech and corporate jobs, including a large expansion of Project Kuiper, the company’s satellite internet ambitions.

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