Combating 'vile' material

Canada and its G7 partners warned the world's biggest internet companies on Tuesday to do a better job of deleting "vile" material from their platforms and dangled the threat of forcing them if they fall short.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he and his fellow G7 security ministers delivered that message in their Tuesday meeting with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft: do more to prevent their platforms from being exploited by terrorists, sexual predators, human traffickers and purveyors of fake news.

"The message is: let's pick up the pace on the improvement that we need to see to get rid of this vile material," Goodale said.

"And if we don't see the pace improving fast enough, then we reserve the right to take other action. And I think the companies heard that message loud and clear."

The G7 security ministers' meeting in Toronto focused on addressing violent extremism and preventing the internet from being as a tool for training, propaganda and financing. But it was also overshadowed by Monday's deadly van attack, in which a rental van barrelled through a crowd of people on a north Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 pedestrians and injuring 15.

The internet giants addressed the G7 ministers last fall in Italy, but the ministers wanted to hear from them again to measure their progress.

Facebook, said Goodale, reported that in the first quarter this year it took action on 1.9 million pieces of content from the Islamic State and Al-Qaida — twice as much as in the quarter before that.

The G7's response was "thank you very much," Goodale said.

"Some progress is being reported. We need to see more," he added. "We're all in this together. It's not a case of us against them."

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