Britain is considering introducing new taxes for technology companies including Google and Facebook to push them to do more to counter online extremism. A new tax may be considered to force them to remove content aimed at radicalising people from their platforms, Britain’s Security Minister Ben Wallace told the Sunday Times.
“If they [the companies] continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivising them or compensating for their inaction,” Wallace told the daily. The minister, however, did not specify the details about his plan.
The companies are prioritising private profit over public safety, the minister alleged. “We should stop pretending that because they sit on beanbags in T-shirts they are not ruthless profiteers,” Wallace said. “They will ruthlessly sell our details to loans and soft-porn companies but not give it to our democratically elected government.”
Facebook executive Simon Milner refuted the criticism. “Mr Wallace is wrong to say that we put profit before safety, especially in the fight against terrorism,” Reuters quoted Milner as saying. “We have invested millions of pounds in people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content.”
Google-owned video-sharing platform, Youtube, too denied the claims. “Over the course of 2017 we have made significant progress through investing in machine learning technology, recruiting more reviewers, building partnerships with experts and collaboration with other companies,” a YouTube spokesperson said.