The United Kingdom is planning to place additional pressure on YouTube, its parent Google, Facebook, and a number of other Silicon Valley giants on the matter of combating online extremism, as well as factions and individuals that promote it, sources with the knowledge of London's plans said on Monday. The European country has been advocating for stricter methods of identifying and sanctioning content associated with terrorist activities for years now and was somewhat successful in its endeavors so far, having managed to prompt Facebook, Google, Twitter, and some other social media companies to take more serious action in this regard. UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd is now set to visit the United States later this summer and meet with a number of top executives of various tech companies and Internet service providers (ISPs) in an effort to push them to start fighting online extremism in an even more aggressive manner, sources familiar with her plans said.
The UK's efforts to limit the impact of online activities of various extremist organizations around the world have intensified earlier this year after the country suffered through four militant attacks with 36 civilian casualties. As part of the initiative, the country's top officials have repeatedly demanded access to private communications sent using encrypted services like WhatsApp, a request that the Silicon Valley deems impossible to fulfill, with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently claiming that doing so would actually have the opposite effect and help terrorists hide their activities from authorities.
Rudd is now said to be planning to participate in the upcoming gathering of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, a group with a relatively self-explanatory name that's sponsored by many of the largest tech companies in the U.S. It's currently unclear whether her scheduled meetings with various Silicon Valley executives are meant to take place during the next event organized by the forum later this summer or if the UK Home Secretary will meet with the officials at a different time. Many social media giants repeatedly stated that they're investing maximum efforts into combating online extremism and the specifics of Rudd's upcoming proposals that are meant to put them under additional pressure to do so are presently unknown.