United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May used Davos as her platform to go after technology firms whom she felt have failed to eliminate content on social media and other online networks that are related to terrorist and criminal activities especially child abuse.
May believes social networks need to do more to police content specifically dealing or promoting terrorism and should remove them automatically. While the Prime Minister acknowledged progress has been made, she believes it is still not enough:
“Technology companies still need to do more in stepping up to their responsibilities for dealing with harmful and illegal online activity. Companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content.”
The Prime Minister has taken a tougher stance versus technology companies after the London Bridge and Manchester terror attacks in 2017. Despite losing the majority in Parliament, May has continually proposed implementing laws that regulate content on the Internet. Provisions include allowing “spies” to read private online communication.
Facebook, the largest social media platform with more than 2 Billion members issued a statement that read the company agreed with the Prime Minister and they have eliminated 99% of al-Qaida and ISIS-related content by implementing automated systems:
“We do that before anyone in our community has flagged it to us, and in some cases, before it goes live on the site. We are also working with other technology companies, big and small, to help them do the same.”
Facebook has been under fire lately for allegedly turning a blind eye to the proliferation of propaganda ads from Russia and fake news in countries held by authoritarian leaders.
In particular, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of allowing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to use 12 Million fake Facebook accounts to disseminate fake news in support of his programs and against those who oppose him.
For their part, Twitter said it proactively removes 95% of terrorist account with its own technology. A spokesman for Twitter said 75% of content is removed after the first tweet:
“Terrorism is a societal problem and therefore required a societal response. Tech has a role to play, as do government, educators, NGOs, the police and academia.”
As consumers become more dependent on mobile technology, these billion dollar companies should go the extra mile in moderating its content.