YouTube must ban Tommy Robinson or risk becoming “big tech’s notorious laggard”, urges consumer watchdog

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February 28, 2019

Big tech companies are beginning to take their responsibilities on hate speech seriously but have further to go to gain the public’s trust, says SumOfUs.

YouTube must act quickly to ban far-right activist Tommy Robinson from its platform in order to avoid becoming “big tech’s notorious laggard” on hate speech, argues international consumer watchdog SumOfUs.

The organisation, which campaigns to hold big corporations accountable, pushed PayPal to ban Tommy Robinson from its platform last November with a petition that gained over 66,000 signatures.

YouTube remains the only major social media platform to host Robinson’s content, after Facebook and Instagram banned him earlier this week and Twitter closed his account last year.

Eoin Dubsky, campaign manager at SumOfUs, said:

“Thanks to public pressure, PayPal, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have banned Tommy Robinson, in accordance with their company policies on hate speech. YouTube must act now to avoid becoming big tech’s notorious laggard.

“All these companies should – and could – have acted sooner. Instead, they’ve willfully ignored the likes of Tommy Robinson for years. As a result, purveyors of racism, bigotry and xenophobia have capitalised on the unprecedented connectivity that big tech affords to spread their messages of hate faster and further than ever before. Little surprise, then, that violence against Muslims is on the rise across Europe, the UK and North America.

“People want to have confidence that companies will do the right thing, rather than have to call them out every time a fascist pops up on one of their platforms. So we want to see corporations adopt robust, transparent processes that will enable them to enact their ambitious policies on hate speech. We will continue to speak up until their actions consistently meet their ethical and legal obligations.”