Prime minister tells tech giants to remove terrorist content within two hours or face penalties

Written by Agnes Chambre on 21 September 2017 in News

Theresa May uses UN General Assembly address to urge Facebook, Google, and Microsoft to do more

Prime minister Theresa May has given tech titans Google, Facebook, and Microsoft a month to demonstrate that they are serious about tackling the problem of online extremism  Credit: PA

Theresa May has ordered internet giants to remove terrorist content within two hours of it being uploaded or face fines.

The Prime Minister has met big tech firms Google, Facebook and Microsoft at a United Nations summit with her Italian counterpart and the French president. 

She told the companies to go "further and faster" and give them a month to show they are taking the problem seriously. In her UN General Assembly speech before the tech summit, May argued that terror will never win but “defiance alone is not enough”.

"Ultimately it is not just the terrorists themselves who we need to defeat. It is the extremist ideologies that fuel them," she said. "It is the ideologies that preach hatred, sow division and undermine our common humanity.”

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A Downing Street source said: "These companies have some of the best brains in the world. They should really be focusing on what matters, which is stopping the spread of terrorism and violence."

The Government has made repeated appeals to tech firms to do more to counter extremist content online. 

Google, Twitter and YouTube have insisted they already work hard to remove terrorist content from their sites. May’s plea to the companies comes as Labour MP Yvette Cooper attacked YouTube for failing to take down extremist videos months after they have been complained about.

Cooper, who is chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the material is far too easy to access and urged the Government to do more to prevent the spread of extremist content online.

This article originally appeared on PublicTechnology sister publication PoliticsHome

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