Jim Shannon – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Shannon on 2015-11-03.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to prevent jihadists recruiting young people through social media sites.

Mr John Hayes

Extremist and terrorist organisations such as ISIL are using the internet to disseminate propaganda and recruit individuals to their groups or to support their aims. Despite the vast majority of British Muslims wanting nothing to do with ISIL, some vulnerable individuals, including young people, are being misled by ISIL’s damaging propaganda through its use of social media sites.

We are therefore working with responsible social media companies to take robust action against terrorist material. Since 2010, over 110,000 pieces of terrorist-related material have been removed at the request of the dedicated Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU). We are pressing social media companies to take stronger, faster and further action to combat the use of their services by terrorist and extremist groups. We want to see a zero tolerance approach to terrorist activity on their networks. We are also working in partnership with civil society organisations prepared to confront the extremist narratives online, increasing their confidence and capability to challenge extremist content effectively and to provide credible alternatives.

We have seen an increase in the pace and scale of terrorist communications by groups such as ISIL, encouraging vulnerable young people to travel to conflict zones like Syria and Iraq. Therefore, it is essential that we equip young people with an awareness of the dangers of terrorist and extremist propaganda and the skills they need to protect themselves from it. The Home Office funds local projects that encourage young people to think critically about potentially harmful or extremist views presented on the internet through addressing all forms of radicalisation.

The Prevent statutory duty introduced this year places an obligation on specified authorities to have due regard to preventing people from being drawn into terrorism. This includes, where relevant, having policies in place relating to the use of IT equipment and considering whether IT equipment should use filtering solutions that limit access to terrorist and extremist material. The Channel programme, which is part of the Prevent duty, is a multi-agency process designed to stop people being drawn into terrorism or terrorist related activity. People identified as being at risk of radicalisation from any source, including online radicalisation, are offered tailored support to address their vulnerability. This support often involves specialist intervention providers who understand the ideology of terrorism and extremism and will seek to steer the vulnerable people away from it.