MP Heidi Alexander has launched a private members bill allowing police to censor social media videos that incite violence. She has been in the forefront of attacks against social media since the riots in August.
MPs have now backed a call for police to be given censorship powers to block or take down YouTube videos that could incite violence. MPs voted in favour of allowing Alexander to bring forward her bill, which will receive a second reading in March. However, the proposals are unlikely to become law without government support.
Alexander told MPs:
I am introducing this bill because I am appalled by the proliferation of online videos which glorify gangs and serious youth violence.
Police, via the courts and internet service providers, need to be given explicit power to get these videos taken down or access to them blocked.
I recognise the policing of the internet is always going to be incredibly difficult but unless we start to grapple with the online manifestation of gangs, I question our ability to really tackle the problem
We can talk about gang injunctions all we like, and yes, there may be a need to stop a certain individual or group coming into a certain area at a certain time, but don’t we too need to recognise that the same individual may be causing an equal amount of fear by his or her actions sat on a computer at home, or spreading these vile videos through social networking sites?
Similar powers already exist to take down or block access to websites that could incite racial hatred or feature extremist material.