Social media terrorist activity bill returning to Senate

A picture illustration shows a Facebook logo reflected in a person's eye, in Zenica, March 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Dianne Feinstein will reintroduce legislation as soon as Monday that would force social media operators such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to notify federal authorities of online terrorist activity, a spokesman said.

Feinstein, a California senator and the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, had included the legislation as an amendment into an intelligence authorization bill, but it was not included in the version voted on by the full Senate.

Deadly attacks in Paris last month and in San Bernardino, California, last week have fueled concern among U.S. lawmakers about how potential terrorists might be using social media to communicate and plan more such assaults.

“This is essentially the largest attack since 9/11,” Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle, referring to the attack in her home state. “We are in a different age.”

Reuters reported on Saturday that Facebook, Google and Twitter were stepping up efforts to combat online propaganda and recruiting by Islamic militants, but doing it quietly to avoid the perception that they are helping authorities police the Internet.

Reporting by Mark Hosenbell and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bernard Orr