Posted on May 2, 2017 by staff

Social media firms blasted by MPs


The world’s biggest social media companies have been blasted by British politicians for failing to remove hateful, illegal and dangerous material quickly.

The strongly-worded report from a Home Affairs Select Committee said hate speech, terror recruitment videos and sexual images of children on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube took too long to be removed.

“Social media companies’ failure to deal with illegal and dangerous material online is a disgrace,” said committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper.

The committee said the Government should consider making tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google – parent company of YouTube – pay for policing when crimes related to content on these platforms are reported.

The committee said it had found “repeated examples of social media companies failing to remove illegal content when asked to do so” and that the firms in question were “big enough, rich enough and clever enough” to sort the problem out.

It added that it was “unacceptable” that social media companies relied on users to report content, effectively outsourcing the task “at zero expense”.

The report also suggested that the Government consider introducing “meaningful fines” for companies which failed to remove illegal content within a strict timeframe.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she expected “early and effective action” from the companies and promised to study the recommendations.

The wider inquiry into hate crime was cut short and limited to social media companies and online hate after the decision to hold a snap General Election.

Simon Milner, Facebook’s policy director, said: “We agree with the Committee that there is more we can do to disrupt people wanting to spread hate and extremism online.”

He told the BBC that the social network was working with King’s College, London and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue to make its efforts to curb hate speech more effective, adding that Facebook had developed “quick and easy ways” for people to report content.

A Google spokesman said: “We take this issue very seriously [and will continue to address] these challenging and complex problems.”

BusinessCloud has contacted Twitter for comment.