Tech giants face major penalties unless terrorist content is removed quickly

Mrs May will say the web giants have only a month to make progress. If they don¿t the Government will legislate to make them liable for extremist content on their sites

The leaders are apparently going to demand that internet companies develop the technological ability to take down extremist content between one and two hours after having been posted, Theresa May is allegedly going to specifically mention that a further development of artificial intelligence in the online fight is needed.

At a special meeting in NY on Wednesday, world leaders including Theresa May will challenge the companies to develop technological fixes to take down terrorist material within one to two hours.

Social media firms have faced growing criticism that they failing to act to prevent the spread of content blamed for provoking people to carry out terror attacks.

She will say that "industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content" because extremists "are placing a greater emphasis on disseminating content at speed in order to stay ahead" of surveillance. "And I say enough is enough". The first two hours after something is put online are considered crucial, as this is when most of the material is downloaded.

Experts believe that by removing links more quickly, access to the material can be dramatically reduced, even if it takes longer to eradicate every trace of it from sites like YouTube.

While welcoming these companies' efforts to try and stop the spread of terrorist content, May will urge them to do more, much more.

Kent Walker, general counsel for Google, who is representing tech firms at May's meeting later today, said the technology industry would not be able to "do it alone".

It was reported that once a person shows a bit of interest in such materials, algorithms used by search engines keep directing them to similar content and that it was this "echo chamber" that internet companies need to break.

Later, the Prime Minister will expand on her determination to defeat extremist ideology, in her address to the other world leaders at the General Assembly.

Ahead of the meeting, May will address the United Nations, talking about the effects of the terrorism that she's seen this year in Britain. "It is the ideologies that preach hatred, sow division and undermine our common humanity", she will say.

"We need people and we need feedback from trusted government sources and from our users to identify and remove some of the most problematic content out there".

Just yesterday, Twitter said it suspended 299,649 accounts between 1 January and 30 June - six months - of this year, and 75% of them were removed before their first tweet.

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