Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned major technology companies such as Facebook and Twitter to do more on the issue of “hate speech,” or face fines and greater regulation.
Talking to the BBC ahead of the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology festival in Austin, Texas, Khan said that companies must be “chivvied and cajoled to take action.”
“We have evolving economies, which means we should have evolving regulations,” he said. “For too long politicians and policymakers have allowed this revolution to take place around us and we’ve had our heads in the sand.”
He went on to reference German hate speech laws, put in place by Angela Merkel in response to growing resentment at her open-door migration policy, with companies now facing fines up to 50 million euros.
“Germany is an example of where the German government said ‘Enough,” he continued. “Unless you take down hate messages, unless you take down fake news, we will fine you’.
“I want to work with the tech companies, but you have to be responsible,” he added.
Khan also reiterated his opposition to President Donald Trump, claiming that Trump’s decision to retweet a member far-right activist group Britain First had led to increased levels of abuse directed at him.
War on Free Speech: EU Demands Facebook and Google Censor ‘Illegal’ Speech in One Hour https://t.co/jV90BcG0Ic
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 2, 2018
“If you are the most powerful man in the western world, and you are amplifying messages from far-right groups, Britain First, that has an impact on many people. That group incites hatred.
“President Trump has lots of followers and some of them have shown interest in me,” he said. “I’m a reluctant participant in any ‘verbal fisticuffs’ between the President of the USA and me. But I’ve got a responsibility as the Mayor of the most diverse city in the world to speak up for my residents.”
Khan’s proposals fall in line with his wider approach of cracking down on “hate crimes” while levels of violent crime continue to soar. In recent years, local police have arrested dozens of people under hate crime legislation, usually on suspicion of speaking against radical Islam.
Farage: Sadiq Khan Should Stop ‘Grandstanding’ About Trump and Fight Crime https://t.co/SlFKgX6ocr
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 3, 2018
His proposals are also likely to receive approval from the European Union, an organization that he avidly supports, who last week ordered social media companies to delete content it considers “illegal” within an hour of its posting.