May: social media giants need to do more to tackle terrorism

Prime Minister Theresa May will use a speech to business leaders to urge shareholders to pressure social media giants to do more to tackle terrorism.

At the World Economic Forum, May will call for more action from tech companies to identify and remove extremist content and say investors have a responsibility to pressure them to make improvements.

Progress has been made, with firms identifying and taking down extremist content more quickly, but more action needs to be taken, May is expected to say.

It is thought May will tell the forum: “Investors can make a big difference here by ensuring trust and safety issues are being properly considered. And I urge them to do so.

“These companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content.

“We need to go further, so that ultimately this content is removed automatically. These companies have some of the best brains in the world. They must focus their brightest and best on meeting these fundamental social responsibilities.

“Just as these big companies need to step up, so we also need cross-industry responses because smaller platforms can quickly become home to criminals and terrorists. We have seen that happen with Telegram. And we need to see more co-operation from smaller platforms like this. No one wants to be known as ‘the terrorists’ platform’ or the first choice app for paedophiles.”

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