UK government calls on tech giants to do more to fight extremism

The security minister has called on tech giants such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) to do more in the battle against online radical content, or they will risk facing a tax punishments.

Ben Wallace said the government was forced to spend large sums on money counter-terrorism measures, due to tech firms not supplying people’s data and worrying online content. 

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Wallace said: “Because content is not taken down as quickly as they could do we’re having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That’s costing millions.”

“Because of encryption and because of radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies,” he added, referring to WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook.

The security minister did not give any detail in his interview about possible tax plans but accused corporations such as YouTube for prioritising profit over public safety.

“We should stop pretending that because they sit on beanbags in T-shirts they are not ruthless profiteers,” he said. “They will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government.”

A YouTube spokesperson rejected the criticism and said the firm was doing it’s all to tackle online extremism.

“Over the course of 2017 we have made significant progress through investing in machine learning technology, recruiting more reviewers, building partnerships with experts and collaboration with other companies,” she said.

Google has yet to respond to Wallace, however, in September 2017 the general counsel for Google said tech giants would not be able to make the difference alone.

“We need people and we need feedback from trusted government sources and from our users to identify and remove some of the most problematic content out there,” said Kent Walker.

Facebook also rejected the government’s plans and said that they took down 99 percent of so-called Islamic State or al-Qaeda’s content before users had flagged it.