Nov 23, 2018

British MPs urge boycott of Google, Facebook over terrorist content

Photo: Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Advertisers should boycott tech giants like Google and Facebook to force them to effectively address the "scandal" of online terrorist content, members of UK's Parliament said, according to The Times of London.

The big picture: Social networks and web companies are under pressure around the world to police extremist content on their sites that facilitate the spread of radicalized material. Despite hiring thousands of people to identify and quickly take down such content, staying ahead of malicious actors online has proven to be very difficult.

The backdrop: Salman Abedi, who killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last year, reportedly learned how to build a bomb by watching a YouTube video. Extremist content online may have helped radicalize attackers at London Bridge and Westminster, per the Daily Mirror.

What they're saying: Web companies have not done enough to take down extremist content and prevent terrorists from using their platforms as a "safe haven," MPs wrote in a report from the Intelligence and Security Committee, a parliamentary watchdog.

  • The report acknowledged the companies are engaging more on the issue, but have made "little tangible progress."
  • Appealing to the internet giants' sense of social responsibility hasn't worked, it says, so businesses should threaten to pull advertising to pull on "financial leavers" to force the platforms to listen.

Between the lines: Major brands such as Unilever and Proctor & Gamble have in the past threatened to pull advertising until the web platforms meaningfully dealt with fake news and divisive content. But with Google and Facebook commanding such huge user bases and such a large share of advertising spending, it's very difficult for marketers to abandon them.

Go deeper: Social media's new job: content cop

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.