Theresa May urges world leaders to follow UK in online terror content crackdown

Posted On: 
15th May 2019

Theresa May has urged world leaders to follow the UK lead in cracking down on “hateful” extremist internet content.

Theresa May will head to the summit in Paris today
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister issued the call ahead of a major global summit to discuss the sharing of terrorist propaganda online in the wake of the horrific gun attack on two mosques in New Zealand in March.

Some 51 people were killed when a killer - thought to be Australian suspect Brenton Tarrant - opened fire on worshippers in Christchurch and live-streamed the appalling incident on Facebook.

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The video was copied and shared multiple times around the web and could still be found on YouTube some eight hours after the attack.

Mrs May will hold talks on internet regulation with a host of global leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who will co-chair the event in Paris.

Ahead of the summit she said governments must work together to ensure the internet is not “weaponised by those who wish to inflict pain and suffering”.

And she pointed at UK plans to enforce a legal duty of care on web companies, governed by a regulator with the power to punish those who fail to stick to the rules.

“My message to governments and internet companies in Paris will be that we must work together and harness our combined technical abilities to stop any sharing of hateful content of this kind,” Mrs May declared.

“The internet is global and online threats have no borders. Companies should be held to consistent international standards, so their customers enjoy the same level of protection wherever they live.”

Mrs May noted that Islamic State propaganda had reached its lowest levels on the web since 2015. She also highlighted the need to “confront” the rise of the far right online.

A new analysis from the Home Office has revealed that some 80,000 visits to a neo-Nazi discussion forum in a single month appeared to come from the UK.

The forum - which the Government has refused to name - has seen more than 12 million posts in response to almost one million individual threads.

Leaders are expected to sign up to a ‘Christchurch Call To Action’ pledge to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and King Abdullah II of Jordan are expected to attend.

Also on the list are Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook head of global affairs - and former Liberal Democrat leader - Nick Clegg.