Remove content on suicide and self-harm, government minister tells tech giants including Google and Facebook
- The government’s minister for suicide prevention said internet giants must act
- Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price, 49, hit out at sites that publish suicide methods
- She said firms should treat the content the same way they would terror material
Minister for suicide prevention Jackie Doyle-Price said internet giants need to take action
Technology giants including Google and Facebook should be forced to remove content about suicide and self-harm, the government’s minister for suicide prevention has demanded.
Jackie Doyle-Price, 49, said internet giants need to take action against self-harm methods in the same way they tackle online extremist content.
The MP for Thurrock, Essex, was appointed as Britain’s first suicide prevention minister in October.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the minister said that sites Wikipedia, Google, Facebook and Twitter were behaving like ‘unruly teenagers’ who had to be ‘dragged, kicking and screaming’ into taking action.
She told the paper: ‘Publicising methods of how to take your own life are just as irresponsible as publishing hate videos and terrorism videos. It’s the same thing; it leads to death and it leads to death that is preventable’.
Mrs Doyle-Price cited Wikipedia were ‘totally irresponsible’ for hosting pages with descriptions of common suicide techniques.
‘If someone who is vulnerable and considering taking their life reaches that state of utter low self esteem and self worth and they decide to go on the internet and start looking at ways to kill yourself they are going to find access to those techniques – that’s just totally irresponsible,’ she said.
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The MP warned that internet giants could face regulation if they fail to take action, saying: ‘They are mature companies so they should stop behaving like unruly teenagers and start behaving like mature responsible players in the marketplace. It is time for Google to grow up’
She added: ‘They are not new kids on the block any more; they are mature companies so they should stop behaving like unruly teenagers and start behaving like mature responsible players in the marketplace. It is time for Google to grow up.’
She warned that internet giants could face regulation if they fail to take action.
‘I wouldn’t rule anything out. The challenge is to the providers here – don’t think the government won’t regulate.’
The minister added that a 10-year-plan for the NHS – expected to take shape next month – will see a huge expansion in mental health services for children, including targets which will limit waiting times to four weeks.
She said it would also help combat mental distress – and will include mindfulness classes for five-year-olds.
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