Social media giants should stop 'profiting' from 'poison' being spread on their sites, says senior MP

Anna Mikhailova
Yvette Cooper - Copyright ©Heathcliff O'Malley , All Rights Reserved, not to be published in any format without pri

Social media giants should stop “profiting” over the “poison” being spread on their sites, a senior MP has said, calling for "much stronger action" against them.

Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, said Twitter and Facebook are failing to take down hate speech and abusive posts.

“The social media companies are frankly outrageous in the way they operate and profit from escalating poison," the Labour MP said, adding that the companies are much better at removing content which breaches copyright.

Speaking at a Policy Exchange fringe event at Labour party conference, Ms Cooper said a video by National Action, a banned Neo-Nazi group, can still be found on Facebook and Twitter today.

“Their algorithms push more and more extremism,” she said. “If you start looking for one thing, the stuff they recommend on Youtube and other channels is absolutely vile.”

“They have to take much greater responsibility and they need to be required to. There need to be regulators, penalties and fines - much stronger action. Because even on the illegal material, they are not taking the action they have a responsibility to do.”

The Daily Telegraph is campaigning for social media sites to be forced to adopt a duty of care toward their users.

Ms Cooper also said the Labour party must do better to enforce its own social media rules, and that the party's official accounts should do more to “challenge” members who send abusive tweets.

She said that, while the party has adopted a “very good” set of standards for social media, it is “not enforcing them”.

“If someone is making abuse with a Labour party hashtag or a #JC4PM hashtag, and is engaging in vitriolic abuse or anti-Semitism, then the party should use its social media accounts to to challenge them and say, ‘Not in our name, this is not what Jeremy is calling for’,” she said.

Wes Streeting

Meanwhile Wes Streeting, the Labour MP, said he felt "joyful" and more productive when he took a week off social media this summer while on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales - having previously been an early adopter and prolific user of social media.

Mr Streeting called for social media sites to take more responsibility for their content. “If you're a publisher or an event organiser, you should be held responsible for what's said on your platforms or published in your pages,” he said.