Tech companies including Facebook and Google have come under fire from the parliamentary security committee of the United Kingdom, as a report that was published today called on businesses to boycott the social media platforms until they do more efforts to tackle extremism.
The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said that the continuous appeals to social media companies to stop their systems from being utilised as a safe haven for extremists and terrorists have failed. They also said that attackers continue to use the platforms to coordinate acts of terror.
The report analysed five serious terror attacks from the previous year including those that occurred in London’s Westminster, London Bridge, Parsons Green, and Finsbury Park. It recommended a change in tactic to applying pressure on their wallets.
Last February, a similar approach was taken by Unilever, the consumer goods giant. It threatened to stop advertising with Facebook and Google unless they adopt a “responsible digital infrastructure.”
MP Dominic Grieves, the committee chair, stated: “We have seen that appeals to these companies’ sense of corporate and social responsibility have not resulted in them making the changes required.”
He added: “We recommend that pressure is instead put on the [platforms] by the business community, following the example of companies such as Unilever. We strongly consider that action which affects [their] profits will hit home harder than an appeal to them to ‘do the right thing’ and could force them to take action on this crucial issue.”
The ISC also issued a petition to ministers to direct their efforts towards encouraging the businesses to follow through on the boycott.
The wide-ranging report gave deep criticism of the response and handling of the government on the terror attacks that happened last, which resulted in many fatalities injuries.
The committee said that MI5, the security service of the United Kingdom, had admitted that it moved “too slowly” in following the movements of the man that was responsible for the bombing of Manchester Arena in 2017, despite having already flagged him as a person of concern.