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Spy watchdog urges businesses to boycott social media firms until they crack down on terror, report says

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If Facebook, Twitter et al policed jihadis, recruitment, etc. as vigorously and viciously as they do my colleagues, my followers and me, the world would be a vastly safe place. For jihadis, social media is a “safe place.”

Businesses have been urged to boycott social media firms until they crack down on terror, a report into the 2017 terror attacks says.

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) – chaired by Dominic Grieve MP – published two reports on Thursday, analysing the Westminster, Manchester Arena, London Bridge, Finsbury Park, and Parsons Green terror incidents.

Telegraph, November 21, 2018:

Thirty-six lives were lost and many more were injured during the attacks last year, and the report considers whether mistakes were made, and seeks to ensure that all changes and improvements required have been identified.

In it, MPs said: “The system for regulating and reporting purchases of the ingredients used to make explosives was hopelessly out of date. This facilitated the perpetrators in acquiring the materials they required.”

In relation to phone systems being used as a “safe haven for extremists and terrorists” the report says: “Appeals to [Communication Service Providers] sense of corporate and social responsibility have not resulted I them making the changes required…these loopholes were used by the perpetrators of the 2017 attacks.”

The report states that access to extremist material online “is reported to have played a key role in the Manchester Arena attack and may have been a factor in radicalising the London Bridge attacker and the Westminster attacker”.

Manchester Arena: Salman Abedi may have gained further expertise in Libya
London Bridge: Khuram Butt is thought to have frequently accessed extremist material online
Westminster: Khalid Masood is thought to have viewed general extremist material, although he had viewed some more extreme material on beheadings and executions on YouTube

The report described the problem of terrorists using social media as “vast”.

“In the past, extremist material was predominantly distributed via leaflets, tape recordings or at meetings,” the report said.

“This made it harder for individuals to access or disseminate extremist material without detection whilst the physical element also limited the scale of this activity.

“Today, the internet allows terrorist and extremist groups to create, post, copy and distribute extremist material, which can be made accessible to over a billion people in a matter of seconds.

“Crucially, the speed at which material can be created and distributed, and the interactive nature of certain web services and social media platforms, means that the authors are able to interact with their audiences, and discuss current events or recent attacks, for example, in a manner that was not possible previously.

It was stated that according to 2013 research, searching the internet for “how to make a bomb” returned almost two million results, while “beheading video” brought up 250,000.

The committee agreed that in the past five years, those numbers will have inevitably grown.

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