Counter-terror police have censored 90,000 pieces of 'terrorist material' on social media

A unit set up in 2010 routinely takes down material deemed objectionable

Jon Stone
Friday 19 June 2015 11:56
A mural decorates one of the many open space work areas at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, May 15, 201
A mural decorates one of the many open space work areas at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, May 15, 201

Counter-terrorism police have censored over 90,000 pieces of “terrorist-related material” on social media since 2010, the Government has disclosed.

Ministers say they are holding discussions with social networks like Twitter and Facebook to develop new “industry standards” for reporting and taking down material.

The statement comes as David Cameron claims that some people in the UK “quietly condone” the ideology of the militant group Isis.

“The cause is ideological. It is an Islamist extremist ideology, one that says the West is bad and democracy is wrong, that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil,” the PM will say in a speech today.

“It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and Caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims. The question is: How do people arrive at this worldview?”

The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit was set up in 2010 by the Association of Chief Police Officer to remove unlawful material from the internet.

The unit removes content that incites or glorifies terrorist acts, which it can taken down by authorities under Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

“We are working with responsible social media companies to take robust action against terrorist material from groups like ISIL,” Home Office minister John Hayes said in a written statement to Parliament.

“Since 2010, over 90,000 pieces of terrorist-related material have been removed at the request of the dedicated Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.

“We are pressing social media companies to take stronger, faster and further action to combat the use of their services by groups like ISIL.

He called for a “zero tolerance” approach from social media firms, adding: “We will encourage companies to produce industry standards for the identification, removal and referral of terrorist activity and will consider further action as necessary.”

The web terror cops also maintain a blacklist of websites hosted abroad that cannot be taken down. Internet service providers routinely block access to this list.

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