G7 demands internet giants crack down on extremist content

May wants tech firms to develop technology to automatically remove extremist material | Fayez Nureldine  AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge the world's major industrialized nations on Friday to unite to force technology companies to tackle "extremist material" and stop militants who are moving their fight "from the battlefield to the internet".

And she will call for an worldwide 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.

May, a former interior minister, will also reiterate that companies should "tell the authorities when they identify harmful material so action can be taken".

Calling on tech giants to step up their policing, Mrs May wants internet firms and Government to work more closely together to take action against those posting harmful content. Tech firms should revise industry guidelines to ensure they are clear about what constitutes harmful material and those companies that refuse should be held to account, the official said.

The meeting in Taormina follows an intensely awkward North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Thursday, when Mr Trump publicly berated those member states which failed to meet the alliance target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Security minister Ben Wallace told the BBC that the use of social media was "one of the biggest challenges" in the fight against extremism. "We're increasing that pressure", he said.

"We all think they could all do more".

He added: "We need to have the tools to make them, where we need to, remove material quicker".

Terrorists have been able to utilise social media and messaging platforms to mobilise through the sharing of information to encourage lone wolf attackers and terrorist cells, both by inciting extremism and by giving guidance on how to carry out grievous attacks.

European Council President Donald Tusk, attending the G7, said he had been impressed by the "determination and toughness" shown by Mr Trump when it came to counter-terrorism.

Her call at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Thursday for more global coordination on tackling terror was undermined by a row with the United States, Britain's leading intelligence partner, over repeated leaks of shared material from the Manchester attack probe.

After Mrs May warned the row risked hampering relations with the United Kingdom, the US Secretary of State said that America took "full responsibility" for and "regrets" the leaking of information.

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