The UK government is ramping up the pressure on social media giants to get their houses in order after floating the possibility of issuing fines for moderation lapses – should the Conservatives win a parliamentary majority in June.
Security minister Ben Wallace is backing a hardline approach after describing a leaked copy of Facebook’s moderation guidelines published by the Guardian as ‘totally unacceptable’ for allowing, amongst other things, images to be shown of children under seven being bullied so long as no captions are shown.
Facebook has already vowed to streamline the reporting of suspect content and speed up the process of invigilating posts but this has done little to quell mounting anger directed at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others over their apparently lax approach in dealing with criminal content such as abuse, hate speech and terror propaganda.
Prime minister Theresa May has taken a lead role on the issue after securing a joint communique from leaders of the G7 group of nations on Friday to ratchet up the pressure on Silicon Valley to do more to combat online extremism.
The German government has already outlined similar proposals to impose fines of up to 50m euros against social media firms which fail to remove content flagged as hate speech within 24 hours.