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Theresa May Urges G7 To Take Action Against Online Extremism

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Fight against Isis “moving from the battlefield to the internet”, Prime Minister to tell G7

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to urge other world leaders at the G7 summit in Sicily to take the fight to Isis in the online world.

The call comes as Daesh (a derogatory term for Isis used in Iraq) admitted that one of its ‘soldiers’ had carried out the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena that killed 22 people and injured 116.

Isis is losing key cities and towns in the physical world, but these setbacks have not prevented it from successfully exploiting the online world to encourage extremism and terrorism.

Theresa_MayTech Pressure

Theresa May will therefore urge her fellow world leaders to do more to combat online extremism, and she will say that more pressure should be put on tech companies to remove extreme material.

They should report such content to the authorities, she will say, according to the BBC.

And she will say that the tech industry has a “social responsibility” to do more to take down harmful content.

She is also expected to say that the fight against so-called Islamic State is “moving from the battlefield to the internet”.

The PM is is expected to focus on online extremism when she chairs a counter-terrorism session at the summit in Italy.

The PM also spoke to reporters outside Downing Street, and indicated she would lead a discussion on how to “work together to prevent the plotting of terrorist attacks online and to stop the spread of hateful extremist ideology on social media.”

The Prime Minister added that co-operation from G7 and Nato would “enable us to work more closely together as we work to defeat the evil of terrorism”.

Theresa May will apparently acknowledge the action the tech industry has been taking to remove extremist content, but will say it has not gone far enough and needs to do more.

And she will call for an international forum to develop the means of intervening where danger is detected, and for companies to develop tools which automatically identify and remove harmful material based on what it contains and who posted it.

Tech Action

There is little doubt that the tech industry is seeking to help tackle online extremism. Earlier this month for example Facebook said it would hire approximately 3,000 more moderators to check online content.

Google has previously said it would redirect users who search for words related to terrorism to anti-radicalisation websites.

And Microsoft gave French police information on the Paris terrorism suspects within 30 minutes of the attack happening.

Twitter last year suspended 235,000 accounts for violating its policies related to the promotion of terrorism.

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