Maajid Nawaz Hits Out At "Despicable" Social Media Sites For Handling Of Harmful Content

2 March 2019, 16:11 | Updated: 2 March 2019, 16:15

Maajid Nawaz hits out at social media firms for an "unwillingness" to remove harmful content from their platforms as a children's charity warn that 70% of child exploitation victims are contacted via the internet sites.

Figures obtained by children's charity NSPCC report that in cases where police record how victims were contacted, social media sites Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat were used 70% of the time.

Video site YouTube has also announced plans to switch off comments on videos featuring under 18-year-olds in an attempt to "better protect children and families" after facing a backlash from advertisers who discovered inappropriate or upsetting comments on some videos.

But Maajid Nawaz says the issue isn't new, and that the internet giants have been "unwilling" to deal with the issue.

Speaking on his LBC show, Maajid said: "The public has lost patience in your obfuscations around what to do with your content and I suspect it all began when your platforms were first being used for terrorism.

"I personally have been banging my head against a brick wall when it comes to you lot and your tolerance of terrorism to the point where I even flew to San Fransisco to meet Facebook in their headquarters in Menlo Park.

"And I was not laughed out of the room, but I was quite patronised and dismissed.

"Then you had the Trump elections, and fake news propaganda, and interference and influence seeking in elections, Cambridge Analytica, and then you move to child sexual exploitation and grooming."

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have been criticised for the handling of harmful content on their sites
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have been criticised for the handling of harmful content on their sites. Picture: LBC / PA

Maajid continued: "It is the point where public opinion has no longer any patience for these tech' companies and their shenanigans.

"Because the power these companies have leave no room for excuses, the wealth that they have accrued and the power they have means that they absolutely must be able to stamp out this kind of behaviour and they have been proven to be unwilling to do so.

"And I hope I speak for many of you that it is despicable.

"It is just mind-boggling that we're in 2019 and only this week did YouTube decide to do something about the sexual comments where pedophile rings were using comments to share videos of children with each other."

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