The attack on London over the weekend has again sparked calls from politicians to crack down on how terrorists use online platforms and apps to communicate, with UK prime minister Theresa May (pictured) saying on Sunday that a new approach to tackling extremism and terrorism is needed.
“We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning,” said May just hours after seven people had been killed in the short but deadly attack on the busy area of London Bridge on Saturday night.
However, the big social media providers said they were already working hard to make their platforms safe. “Terrorist content has no place on Twitter,” said Nick Pickles, the company’s public policy head, while Google said it was “already working with industry colleagues on an international forum to accelerate and strengthen our existing work in this area. We invest hundreds of millions of pounds to fight abuse on our platforms and ensure we are part of the solution.”
Previous calls by the UK’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, to allow security services to read the encrypted messages of attackers, have met with pushback from the technology industry and privacy campaigners alike.
Facebook echoed its social media counterparts by saying: “Online extremism can only be tackled with strong partnerships. We have long collaborated with policymakers, civil society and others in the tech industry.”