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Silicon Valley Giants Hit Back at MPs in Extremism Row

The technology industry has hit back at claims made by an influential parliamentary committee that it's failing to combat extremism propagated via online services.

The Home Affairs Select Committee said firms like Google, Facebook and Twitter must take more responsibility for policing their social networks.

"Networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and they have become the recruiting platforms for terrorism,” the committee concluded, according to the BBC.

"They must accept that the hundreds of millions in revenues generated from billions of people using their products needs to be accompanied by a greater sense of responsibility and ownership for the impact that extremist material on their sites is having.”

However, Charlotte Holloway, policy director at tech industry trade association techUK, argued that the report is innacurate.

“As a number of companies made clear in their evidence to the committee, responsibilities to tackle online extremism are a serious and ongoing priority, backed by significant resources, a zero-tolerance approach, and decisive and fast action when needed,” she added.

“Tech companies work proactively to deal with online extremism daily, in constructive and proven partnerships with a wide range of policy-makers, the police and security agencies, and wider civil society bodies. Indeed, the vast majority of counter-terrorist operations would not succeed without the assistance and support of tech companies.”

In fact, Twitter claims to have shut down over 360,000 extremist accounts over the past year.

Also, Google’s most recent Transparency Report reveals the firm handed over data on users to the authorities in nearly two-thirds of cases in the second half of 2015.

It produced “some data” when requested in 72% of cases in the UK, far higher than the global average of 64% - hinting of a decent working relationship with the authorities.

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