Social media firms must take action against violent extremism: UK interior minister

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid speaks to members of the media after meeting with UK Border Force staff on the quayside at Dover, in south-east England on January 2, 2019. (AFP photo)
Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid speaks to members of the media after meeting with UK Border Force staff on the quayside at Dover, in south-east England on January 2, 2019. (AFP photo)

Britain’s Home Secretary (Interior Minister) Sajid Javid has said social media companies must take action to stop violent extremism on their channels after Friday’s massacre by an Australian white supremacist at two mosques in New Zealand.

The terrorist, a 28-year-old man called Brenton Tarrant, broadcast live footage on Facebook of the deadly attack on one mosque in the South Island city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games. Earlier he published a “manifesto” on Twitter in which he espoused anti-immigrant and Islamophobic ideology, and featured tropes familiar to white supremacist and alt-right movements.

The attack on two mosques in Christchurch has killed at least 49 people and injured more than 20 others. Tarrant identified himself online before live-streaming himself gunning down his victims.

The vile terrorist was inspired by Anders Breivik — the Norwegian far-right terrorist who committed the 2011 Norway attacks — and called for the deaths of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan in his “manifesto”.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube announced they would take down content involving the massacre which was posted online.

“You really need to do more @YouTube @Google @facebook @Twitter to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms,” British Interior Minister Javid wrote on Twitter. “Take some ownership. Enough is enough.”

Sajid Javid

@sajidjavid

You really need to do more @YouTube @Google @facebook @Twitter to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms. Take some ownership. Enough is enough https://twitter.com/youtube/status/1106431532976074753?s=21 

YouTube

@YouTube

Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.

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Meanwhile, London Mayor Khan, a Muslim who was mentioned in the terrorist’s hate manifesto, condemned the terrorist attack against Muslims announced that police patrols in the British capital around local mosques would be increased.

“When the flames of hatred are fanned, when people are demonised because of their faith, when we play on people’s fears rather than addressing them, the consequences are deadly, as we have seen so sadly today,” Khan tweeted.

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Sadiq Khan

@SadiqKhan

When the flames of hatred are fanned, when people are demonised because of their faith, when we play on people’s fears rather than addressing them, the consequences are deadly, as we have seen so sadly today.

1,746 people are talking about this

“In response to the horrific attack in New Zealand, I am in constant contact with @metpoliceuk who are stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques & increasing engagement with communities of all faiths,” he continued.

While most of the mainstream Western media has refused to call the deadly incident a terrorist attack, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardem described it as an act of terrorism.

“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said.

“What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us,” she continued on Twitter.

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