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UK Could Tax Facebook and Twitter to Fund Anti-Hate Campaign

The UK could start taxing social media companies in an effort to crack down on pernicious online content such as cyber-bullying, hate speech and unrestricted access to pornography.

Facebook and Twitter might be among the Internet giants on which the government imposes a levy, reportedly in order to raise money for country-wide programmes aimed at countering online abuse.

Some of these companies will be consulted on the matter by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, who laid out her plan in an “internet safety green paper.”

According to The Independent, Downing Street will first check whether the private sector itself can adopt new effective measures to tackle  online hate, before imposing the new levy.

“The Internet has been an amazing force for good, but it has caused undeniable suffering and can be an especially harmful place for children and vulnerable people,” Secretary Bradley said.

“Behaviour that is unacceptable in real life is unacceptable on a computer screen. We need an approach to the Internet that protects everyone without restricting growth and innovation in the digital economy. Our ideas are ambitious – and rightly so. Collaboratively, government, industry, parents and communities can keep citizens safe online, but only by working together.”

The green paper also include proposals for a new “code of practice” with which Internet giants would pledge to remove hateful posts as quickly as possible, plus an annual review to allow scrutiny of how the problem is being dealt with.

The UK government has been extremely vocal in requesting that social media giants adopt a tougher approach to the spread of abuse, extremist propaganda and otherwise questionable content online.

Recently, PM Theresa May joined other world leaders in demanding that extremist content be removed within an hour from its posting— right now it takes an average of 36 hours to take down similar posts.

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