Social media giants have ‘moral duty’ to tackle child abuse

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Amber Rudd will call on tech giants to go “further and faster” in tackling online child sexual abuse

Social media giants must do more to stop child sexual exploitation, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, Ms Rudd said the companies have a “moral duty” to go “further and faster” in their efforts to tackle the abuse.

She is to meet counterparts in the US government to discuss the issue during a trip to Washington this week.

The tech companies have said they are doing their utmost to keep their young users safe.

‘Absolute urgency’

During Ms Rudd’s trip she will attend a roundtable discussion joined by tech companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

The home secretary will welcome work that has been done to tackle online child sexual abuse, but will also say that more needs to be done at a “far greater pace” across the technology industry.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, Ms Rudd said online technology had made “vile child sexual abuse content vastly easier to find”.

“It is with absolute urgency that I call on all internet companies to go further and go faster in tackling online child sexual abuse,” she said.

“We need you all to bring your resources and your technical expertise to help us turn the tide on this horrendous scourge. It is your moral duty.”

Ms Rudd’s comments come as new government figures show there was a 700% increase in the number of indecent images identified on technology company servers and flagged to law enforcement agencies between 2013 and 2017.

Each month there are more than 400 arrests for indecent images of children offences in the UK and some 500 children are being protected from online sexual exploitation, the government said.

Ms Rudd will also raise concerns about the use of messaging websites and apps, as well as video and image apps and websites, during her trip.

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