Labour MP slams Irish Twitter boss for failing to remove anti-Semitic tweets branding Jews ‘filthy’

Labour MP slams Irish Twitter boss for failing to remove anti-Semitic tweets branding Jews ‘filthy’

A SENIOR Labour MP has criticised Twitter’s Irish vice president Sinead McSweeney for failing to remove vile anti-Semitic and abusive tweets.

The social media giant was condemned at a Home Affairs Committee hearing this morning for repeatedly failing to delete offensive tweets flagged by Westminster.

Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the watchdog, told Ms Sweeney it was “hard to believe” Twitter was doing enough to tackle hate crime when posts reported months ago remained viewable on the platform.

Ms Cooper referenced a string of previously-reported messages that were still on the social network, such as one tweet branding someone a “filthy Jew bitch”.

She told Ms McSweeney: “I’m kind of wondering what we have to do. We sat in this committee in a public hearing and raised a clearly vile anti-Semitic tweet with your organisation.

“It was discussed and it is still there, and everybody accepted, you’ve accepted, your predecessor accepted, that it was unacceptable. But it is still there on the platform.

“What is it that we have got to do to get you to take it down?

“Part of the problem is, even when we raise it in a forum like this, nothing happens. It’s very hard for us to believe that enough is being done when everybody else across the country raises concerns”.

Asked why the bigoted tweets remained on her platform, Ms McSweeney said: “I don't know the answer to that question. I will come back to you with an answer as to why they are still on the platform”.

But the Dublin native added that Twitter will never be able to guarantee a platform free of abusive messages.

"You can clean a street every morning,” she said, "you can't guarantee it's still going to be clean at 10am.”

Earlier in the hearing Ms Cooper had asked McSweeney: "If someone in this room reported one of those tweets today how long would it take to be taken down?"

She replied: "I can't say categorically, it would depend on what else was going on in the world but we're not talking about anything more than a day or two."

Yvette Cooper replied: "The problem is that that is just not people's experience at all."

The MP’s comments came as MPs grilled social media giants over their alleged failure to tackle online abuse on their platforms.

Senior figures from Twitter, Facebook and Google all faced the committee, which is investigating how they deal with abusive content.

Twitter suspended a number of accounts related to far-right group Britain First this morning, including deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who made headlines recently when US President Donald Trump retweeted one of her posts about Muslims.

Others facing the watchdog’s questions were Facebook's director of public policy Simon Milner, and Dr Nicklas Berild Lundblad, Google's vice president for public policy.