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Online Radicalisation

Volume 636: debated on Monday 26 February 2018

The Government have been clear that there should be no space online for terrorists and supporters to radicalise, recruit, incite or inspire. The UK has led the way in setting up the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, to ensure that the larger communications service providers and all internet providers take down that material.

I thank the Home Secretary for that answer. From speaking to experts such as Professor Peter Neumann from King’s College London, I am aware that the vast majority of Daesh supporters have moved away from using online systems such as Facebook and Twitter, and are now using private messaging systems such as Telegram. What steps has the Home Secretary taken, by working with such organisations, to help to tackle these threats?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this important point. He is right to say that a lot of the activity by radicalised people has migrated to the smaller sites. That is partly due to the some of the success that Facebook and Twitter have had; these people are now moving to the smaller sites. We reckon that more than 450 were set up just last year. It is so important to have the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism because the larger companies have committed to working with the smaller companies to show them how to adapt their platforms to keep the terrorists offline.

But how does it give the public confidence in the Government’s anti-radicalisation and anti-terrorism strategy for the former British soldier James Matthews, who fought alongside our Kurdish allies against ISIS in Syria, to be prosecuted for terrorist offences?

There are certain elements to this and I cannot be drawn on individual ones because that particular case is sub judice. However, I understand that there are concerns about the level way in which the Government are approaching this. No individual from this country can go out and fight with another person’s army or terrorist organisation in order perhaps to promote their own way of life. We have to be very clear and even-handed about this.