A FORMER head of UK counter-terrorism has slammed Google for displaying hate preacher Anjem Choudary’s name when one searches for ‘British Muslim spokesperson.’
Sir Mark Rowley, speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme in the wake of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, slammed tech giants of profiting from algorithms that “are pushing readers to extremist material.” He also said they weren’t doing enough to stop the spread of terrorist material.
Sir Mark said: “They (the tech companies) are using algorithms designed to push us towards contentious material because that feeds their bottom line in terms of revenue through advertising.
“The contentious is often the extremist and so they are pushing readers to extremist material.
“I think I mentioned on your programme a few months ago, if you google ‘British Muslim spokesman’ you get Anjem Choudary, that is a disgrace.”
Tech companies have made some progress in combating the spread of extremism, but it was “completely insufficient,” said Sir Mark, adding that the New Zealand shootings and Sri Lanka bomb attacks highlighted new ways in which the “seeds of extremist propaganda are scattered to the winds of the internet”.
“Nobody, not even the best experts, would have predicted those as two big attacks this year,” said Sir Mark. “So we have to say what is happening differently in right wing and Islamist terrorism, in terms of the way it is propagating across the world.”
He added: “As perhaps happened in Sri Lanka, you have a local group with local grievances, whether legitimate or not doesn’t really matter.
“And those have hooked onto ISIS propaganda perhaps and probably been influenced by them in their choice of targets.
“Because interestingly in Sri Lanka they haven’t attacked the majority ethnic group rulers they have attacked Christian churches, which is very much an ISIS tactic.”