MPs say Facebook, Twitter and YouTube ‘consciously failing’ to tackle extremism

Action to date by social media companies to remove Isis propaganda and hate speech described as ‘drop in the ocean’. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been accused by MPs of “consciously failing” to combat the use of their sites to promote terrorism and extremism. A report by the Commons home affairs select committee says the social media networks have become the “vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and the recruiting platforms for terrorism”. The companies’ failure to tackle this threat had left some parts of the internet “ungoverned, unregulated and lawless”, said Keith Vaz, who chairs the committee. (…) The MPs’ inquiry into tackling radicalisation also recommends that the government’s Prevent programme should be rebranded as the Engage programme to remove its already “toxic” associations in the Muslim community. The web companies reacted strongly to the combative tone of the MPs’ report. They insisted they took extremely seriously their role in combatting the spread of extremist material. Twitter announced last Friday that it had suspended 235,000 accounts for promoting terrorism in the six months since February. Facebook also insisted it dealt “swiftly and robustly” with reports of terrorist-related content. The US State Department and the French interior minister both praised Twitter for moving swiftly to try to get Isis off its platform. But the MPs’ report says that the suspension of 350,000 Twitter accounts since mid-2015 and Google’s removal of 14m videos in 2014 relating to all kinds of abuse are “in reality a drop in the ocean”. Vaz said: “We are engaged in a war for hearts and minds in the fight against terrorism. The modern front line is the internet. Its forums, message boards and social media platforms are the lifeblood of Daesh [the Arabic for Isis] and other terrorist groups.
“Huge corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter, with their billion-dollar incomes, are consciously failing to tackle this threat and passing the buck by hiding behind their supranational legal status, despite knowing that their sites are being used by the instigators of terror.”

via guardian: MPs say Facebook, Twitter and YouTube ‘consciously failing’ to tackle extremism

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