Posted on April 29, 2019 by staff

UK urges web giants to stop self-harm and ‘anti-vax’ content


Representatives from four tech giants have been summoned by the government to meet with the Samaritans and tackle harmful content, including self-harm and suicide, on their platforms.

Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Instagram have been tasked with identifying and tackling harmful content such as suicide and self-harm by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The behind-closed-doors meeting follows the government’s recent white paper, which sets out the country’s effort to be the safest place in the world to go online and the best place to grow a digital business.

“I want the UK to be the safest place to be online and give parents the confidence to know their children are safe when they use social media,” said Hancock in a statement.

“The government will legislate to tackle harmful content online – but we will also work with social media companies to act now.”

Hancock will also ask the web giants to weed out online anti-vaccination messages, which have been growing in popularity, and has teamed up with the Samaritans charity as part of the campaign.

“As set out in our Online Harms white paper, the Government will legislate to tackle harmful content online, but we will also work with social media companies to act now,” said Hancock.

“I am delighted to announce this world-leading partnership, which will see us team up with Samaritans to enable social media companies to go further in achieving our goal of making the UK the safest place to be online.”

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of the Samaritans, added: “The internet has evolved rapidly to be a force for good and a new forum to connect with others.

“However, there has been a worrying growth of dangerous online content which is an urgent issue to combat and something we cannot solve alone.”