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Social Networking: Crime

Home Office written question – answered on 23rd March 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) Facebook, (b) Twitter, (c) Google+, (d) YouTube, (e) Snapchat and (f) WhatsApp accounts have been closed or suspended on request of the Government due to involvement in (i) terrorism, (ii) hate crime and (iii) targeted harassment in each of the last 24 months.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

This Government takes seriously the issue of online terrorist content, hate crime, and abuse.

We work in partnership with major technology firms across the spectrum of online harms, identifying ways to tackle threats.

In the UK our dedicated police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) refers content that they assess as contravening UK terrorism legislation to industry. If industry agree that it breaches their terms and conditions, they remove it voluntarily. Through this process, in 2016 CTIRU secured the removal of over 120,000 pieces of terrorist material. The Home Office can only obtain the specific data requested on terrorism at disproportionate cost.

Last year we published a new Hate Crime Action Plan which focuses on reducing hate crime both on and offline, increasing reporting and improving support for victims.

As part of this, we agreed with internet service providers including Google, Facebook and Twitter that they would remove illegal content within 24 hours of it being posted, meaning people are better protected online. Snapchat and Whatsapp both contain end to end encryption on their messages, which means the content sent between their users is not publically viewable.

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