Will a tax threat be enough to encourage social media giants to do more over their content?
Security Minister Ben Wallace has suggested that Britain could bring in new taxes targeting tech giants unless they do more to tackle online extremism.
Wallace said that tech giants such as Facebook and Google should face a punishment for failing to deal with terrorism threats to the UK through the use of the internet instead of leaving the government to act on their behalf.
“Because content is not taken down as quickly as it could be we’re having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That’s costing millions. Because of encryption radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies,” said Wallace in an interview with The Sunday Times.
The government has insisted that tech giants increase their efforts to tackle the content that is published and share on their site much more quickly and efficiently than they have done in the past. Prime Minister Theresa May had urged companies to do this in the last year, but it seems more still needs to be done according to Wallace.
In October last year, the likes of Facebook and Google were said to be investing a total of £100m to help stop extremism on the web however Wallace still does not think tech firms are doing enough.
He said: “We are more vulnerable than at any point in the last 100 years. The time for excuses is at an end and the government should look at “all options” of incentivising firms including tax.”
After the attacks across the UK both in the Capital and at Manchester Arena May urged tech giants to do more to remove extremist content and tighten regulations across the cyber world, with the threat of paying tax and being treated like a printed publication if the unwanted content was posted on the site.
May turned to technology companies to help crackdown on the content published on sites saying: “The industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online, and developing technological solutions which prevent it being uploaded in the first place.”
However, according to tech giants such as Facebook, they are doing ‘enough’ as the company said the site has removed 83% of extremist content copies within an hour of it being originally uploaded. The company has also revealed plans to increase the number of workers it has that are focused on security and safety to 20,000 this year.