Home Secretary Sajid Javid gave tech giants their starkest warning yet that they should step up when it comes to protecting against online hate in his speech to the Conservative Party conference on Tuesday.
Javid, whose speech omitted mention of the much-touted full proscription of Hezbollah, instead focused on securing British values, but it was his threat to enact laws governing online content that caught the eye.
He said he would be “standing up to the tech giants and demanding that they take their responsibility seriously,” adding: “They should be in no doubt: we will legislate. How we legislate will be influenced by the actions they choose to take now.”
Elsewhere in his speech, Javid made the latest mention of Labour’s antisemitism crisis, saying: “It is deeply shocking to see an entire community – our Jewish community – united in their fears and concerns about a major political party, and to see that party, especially its leader, repeatedly failing to respond to those concerns with the seriousness that’s required.”
He also alluded to the charges of Islamophobia recently levelled at the Conservative Party, and tackled race relations head-on, identifying child sex grooming gangs of Pakistani origin and describing his “anger” at the reality and the threat.
Javid also addressed the “medieval” issue of forced marriage, promising to “consult on making it a mandatory duty for professionals to report forced marriage whenever they come across it”.
He added: “When women have the courage to come forward and inform us that they have been forced to sponsor a spousal visa against their will, we will not only protect their anonymity but do everything we can to deny or revoke that visa.”