MP welcomes Prime Minister’s push to stop the spread of terrorist material online

Stafford MP, Jeremy Lefroy has backed calls made by the Prime Minister to push for internet firms to go further and faster’ to stop the spread of terrorist material - including the development of new technology to stop it from ever appearing on the web in the first place.

Terrorists and extremists have sought to misuse online platforms to spread their hateful messages for too long. The Government has been clear, that those who want to do us harm should not be able to use the internet or social media to do so.

Last week the Prime Minister co-hosted a meeting on preventing terrorist use of the internet at the UN General Assembly in New York, with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. The meeting was attended by a string of the world’s biggest tech companies.

The Prime Minister called on the Industry to develop new technological solutions to prevent such content being uploaded in the first place. Where terrorist content does appear, the leaders pushed for a target of one to two hours for it to be took down. This is the period during which most of the material is disseminated.

The UK has been instrumental in establishing the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. This brings together internet giants towards a common goal of ending the internet as a safe space from where terrorists can hide.

Internet companies are already making progress towards the automatic identification of terrorist content. Twitter suspended 299,649 accounts between Jan 1 and June 30 this year. Some 75 per cent of accounts were suspended before their first Tweet. Since 2010, social media providers have removed 280,000 pieces of illegal terrorist material in the UK.

Commenting, Jeremy said: “Terrorists and extremists have sought to misuse online platforms to spread their hateful messages for too long. While I welcome the progress made by the biggest internet companies towards stopping the spread of terrorist content, terrorist groups are aware that links to their propaganda are being removed more quickly, and are placing a greater emphasis on disseminating content at speed in order to stay ahead. Governments must therefore work with and support the efforts of industry and civil society if we are to achieve real and continuing progress and prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist use of cyberspace”.