U.K. Increases Pressure on Google to Remove Terrorist Content

  • Companies could and should do more to crack down, May says
  • Remarks follow meeting between tech firms and home secretary

The U.K. increased the pressure on Google Inc. to crack down on terrorist content, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying the YouTube owner should do more to remove inappropriate material from the internet.

“We think that there is more that they could and should be doing, and we will be continuing to encourage them to do more,’’ May told reporters when asked specifically about Google and YouTube. “I think it’s very important that we do see action from the companies. We will continue to press them to make sure, because as we know, material on the internet can have an impact when it is seen by other people.’’

Ministers are concerned that material available on the internet, including hate sermons, bomb-making manuals and Islamic State videos, could radicalize Britons and inspire attacks such as last month’s car-and-knife assault in Westminster that left four people dead.

May’s intervention during a three-day trip to Jordan and Saudi Arabia follows a meeting last week between Home Secretary Amber Rudd and representatives from Google, Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Twitter Inc., at which they were urged to tackle the problem of terrorist content “head on.’’

“The government has already spent quite a lot of time talking with the companies about what they can do and what we think they should be doing,’’ May said. “They have made some progress,’’ she said, adding that “something like a quarter of a million pieces’’ have been pulled from the internet since 2010.

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