By Melony Roy

By KYW Social Media Editor Melony Roy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Social media sites have become a useful tool for terrorist groups like ISIS to expand their influence and recruit followers, but now social media giants are pushing back against proposed legislation that takes on terrorist activity online.

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Lawmakers want to require tech companies to alert federal authorities of any terrorist activities on their sites.

“These companies don’t want to be told that it’s their responsibility to essentially police, because of the fear of what happens if they miss something,” says Drexel Cyber security expert Dr. Rob D’Ovidio. “Are they going to be punished?”

The senate intelligence committee has endorsed a bill proposed by California Senator Dianne Feinstein that is almost identical to the law requiring tech companies to report child pornography.

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“If Yahoo, Facebook, or Google come upon child pornography on their network they have a responsibility to alert law enforcement,” D’Ovidio says. “Child pornography is a very finite, definitive thing, and we have technology means by which to convert images into digital fingerprints. They can even identify child porn without looking at the image.”

D’Ovidio adds that determining terrorist activity is harder because it requires more context.

“What I think the government is asking for is not going to be easily done,” he says, “especially without intruding on our privacy.”

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The primary argument against the proposed bill has been that consumers won’t use technology they don’t trust, and unnecessary surveillance would hurt the industry.