Social Media Companies Don’t Do Enough About Illegal and Dangerous Content, Says British Parliament

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about social media companies not doing enough to keep illegal and dangerous content off of their sites, or that they take too long to be removed. According the British Parliament, they aren’t even close to hitting the right mark.

The report from the Home Affairs Select Committee report says that UK laws need to be strengthened around illegal content, and that relying on just users to report content was “unacceptable,” and just outsources the role of finding such content “at zero expense.”

Some recommendations from the report include:

  • Possible financial contributions to the police from social media firms to cover the cost of police’s counter-terrorism internet referral unit
  • Fines for companies which don’t take down content fast enough
  • Social Media companies being forced to review their community standards and how much users understand them


The most recent notable cases of illegal and dangerous content involve a Facebook video of an Ohio murder, and a baby filmed being dropped off of a room by her father who then killed himself in Thailand, but the trend goes back further. From terrorist beheading videos, to sexually explicit images of children, social media companies have been facing pressure for a long time to remove illegal and dangerous content faster, and more precisely, as not to accidentally remove the wrong types of content.

Over in the US, congress is not much more welcoming to social media than their British counterparts. In January the House of Representatives passed new rules against streaming or recording video/sound from the house floor. This was likely a republican response to the Democrats sit-in during the previous session of Congress.   

-Dallas Schwab, @schwabsyy

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism