Government could force social media giants to adopt new anti-extremism technology

Posted On: 
13th February 2018

Social media firms could be forced by law to adopt new technology that automatically detects extremist content online, Amber Rudd has said.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd is visiting the US to speak to leading tech companies

The Home Secretary revealed the new software, which is part-funded by the UK government, as part of a visit to the United States to meet tech companies.

Speaking from Silicon Valley, Ms Rudd said the new tool could play a vital role in the fight against extremist content online, such as Islamic State recruitment videos.

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She said "It's a very convincing example of the fact that you can have the information you need to make sure this material doesn't go online in the first place.

"The technology is there. There are tools out there that can do exactly what we're asking for. For smaller companies, this could be ideal.”

Asked if she would consider changing the law to compel social media giants such as Facebook and Google to embrace the new technology, the Home Secretary replied: "We're not going to rule out taking legislative action if we need to do it.  

"But I remain convinced that the best way to take real action, to have the best outcomes, is to have an industry-led forum like the one we've got."


Elsewhere, Ms Rudd said two captured British suspected IS fighters must "face justice", but stopped short of calling for their trial to take place in the UK.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh were caught in Syria after allegedly committing atrocities, including the beheading of prisoners, while fighting for the terror group.

"The important thing is that those two people face justice," she said. 

"We will always do what is right to make sure that we protect British people and that they get the justice they deserve.

"I'm not going to comment any further on where that should be."