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Government: social media sites should do more to tackle radicalisation and extremism

By Megan Rose

A recent Government report has concluded that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are lacking in strategies to prevent the promotion of extremism and radicalisation.

The inquiry, which was led by the Commons home affairs select committee, labelled the sites as the ‘vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and the recruiting platform for terrorism.’

Keith Vaz, who chairs the committee, said parts of the internet are left ‘ungoverned, unregulated and lawless’ as a result of the companies’ failure to take effective action. He said the fact the companies only had ‘a few hundred’ individuals to monitor and tackle extremist material was shocking.

The report sparked strong responses from the social media companies, who said they took their responsibility of combating extremist material incredibly seriously. Twitter said they had suspended over 235,000 accounts since February, while Google, who own YouTube, said it had removed 14 million videos that had abusive and violent content since 2014.

The MPs proposed that the UK Government require web companies to work closely with the Metropolitan Police’s specialist unit. This would help develop effective strategies for swiftly removing hate speech sites, and monitor why some had not yet been closed down. Requiring web companies to produce quarterly reports on how many sites they had suspended was also recommended.

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Image: CC BY 2.0