British Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised over her promise to tighten regulation on tech firms following Saturday’s terror attacks in London that killed seven people, the media reported on Monday. May on Sunday evening said areas of the internet must be closed because tech giants provided a “safe space” for terrorist ideology, the BBC reports.
“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed…Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies provide,” the Prime Minister said. Echoing May, Home Secretary Amber Rudd told iTV that an international agreement was needed for social media companies to do more to stop radicalisation.
“One (requirement) is to make sure they do more to take down the material that is radicalising people,” Rudd said. But the Open Rights Group, which campaigns for privacy and free speech online, warned that politicians risked pushing terrorists’ “vile networks” into the “darker corners of the web” by more regulation.
“The internet and companies like Facebook are not the cause of hate and violence, but tools that can be abused,” Open Rights said. “While governments and companies should take sensible measures to stop abuse, attempts to control the internet is not the simple solution that Theresa May is claiming,” it said. The group branded her criticism as “intellectually lazy”. However, the major social media firms said on Sunday night that they were working hard to rid their networks of terrorist activity and support, the BBC reported.
Facebook said: “Using a combination of technology and human review, we work aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it – and if we become aware of an emergency involving imminent harm to someone’s safety, we notify law enforcement.” Google said it was “committed to working in partnership with the government and NGOs to tackle these challenging and complex problems, and share the government’s commitment to ensuring terrorists do not have a voice online”. Twitter said “terrorist content has no place on” its platform.