CST: ‘Google must do more to curb web hate’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN

THE COMMUNITY Se­cu­rity Trust has crit­i­cised Google af­ter the com­pany said it would be re­mov­ing ad­verts from an­ti­semitic and extremist con­tent hosted on its YouTube plat­form — while fail­ing to take down the of­fen­sive ma­te­rial it­self.

More than 250 brands — in­clud­ing Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Toy­ota — have now pulled their ad­ver­tis­ing in the wake of the grow­ing scan­dal over Google’s fail­ure to pre­vent extremist con­tent from hate preach­ers, rape apol­o­gists and ho­mo­pho­bic extremists banned from the UK flood­ing its plat­forms.

Apol­o­gis­ing amid grow­ing anger over the is­sue, Matt Brit­tin, head of Google Europe, ad­mit­ted the firm did not plan to em­ploy any ex­tra staff to search out and delete extremist con­tent.

In­stead Mr Brit­tin said the com­pany, which is be­lieved to earn around £50 mil­lion a year from YouTube rev­enues, would now make changes to its poli­cies on ad­ver­tis­ing to “raise the bar” on what is cat­e­gorised as hate speech, and make it eas­ier to con­trol where brands ap­pear.

But Mark Gard­ner, CST direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, told the JC: “This news that Google will re­move ad­verts from hate sites leaves us in a worse po­si­tion.

“It means they have, at last, agreed to find and as­sess hate sites — but their de­ci­sion is to leave them in place, whilst only re­mov­ing the ad­verts. Profit is all that ul­ti­mately mat­ters to these com­pa­nies.”

On Tues­day, Robert Buck­land MP, the Solic­i­tor Gen­eral, said Google could even be pros­e­cuted un­der anti-ter­ror­ism leg­is­la­tion if it fails to re­move illegal con­tent.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence to MPs in the wake of the scan­dal, Mr Buck­land said the in­ter­net gi­ant would be crim­i­nally li­able if it was found to have “reck­lessly” cir­cu­lated videos posted by far-right an­ti­semitic or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Na­tional Ac­tion, which was pro­scribed as a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion in De­cem­ber.

Sarah New­ton, a Home Of­fice min­is­ter, said Google was now los­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of pounds of ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue as a re­sult of the scan­dal — and claimed the com­pany risked go­ing out of busi­ness un­less it cleaned up its act.

Mr Gard­ner added: “It re­quires YouTube and oth­ers like Face­book to ac­cept their re­spon­si­bil­ity as pub­lish­ers, mean­ing they need to prop­erly mon­i­tor what they them­selves are pub­lish­ing.

“This is ba­sic be­hav­iour ex­pected of any news­pa­per or TV com­pany, in­clud­ing on their own web­sites: but these mas­sive in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia com­pa­nies claim to be mag­i­cally dif­fer­ent.

“They hide be­hind the sheer size of their op­er­a­tion, tak­ing the prof­its, but leav­ing it to groups like CST to spend our limited time and re­source bring­ing com­plaints and then ar­gu­ing for re­movals.”

Profit is all that ul­ti­mately mat­ters to com­pa­nies’

Home Of­fice min­is­ter Sarah New­ton

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