Ad tech companies could face a tax penalty for failing to deal with extremist content online, according to the government security minister Ben Wallace.

Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Times, Wallace said that tech firms such as Google, YouTube and Facebook were failing to remove radical content online, resulting the government to spending millions in policing the internet.

“Because content is not taken down as quickly as they could do, we’re having to de-radicalise people who have been radicalised. That’s costing millions,” he added.

This news comes as a number of cases identified last year where online ads on YouTube were served against extremist and exploitative content made the headlines.

In November 2017, The Times and the BBC found the video platform had failed to keep its promises to monitor and protect children from inappropriate content with sexualised imagery of children becoming both viewable and searchable online. This resulted in a top global advertisers such as Cadbury, Adidas and Mars pulling their ads from YouTube.

In addition, US mobile carrier Verizon among other brands boycotted Google’s display network in protest of ads appearing alongside content promoting terrorism and hate on YouTube.  

“Time to deliver”

Wallace criticised the following tech firms in putting profit before public safety online and has called for them to deliver more in protecting people online.

The security minister did not confirm on a proposed amount for the tax fines but urged companies to act now in light of stricter rules such as the general protection data regulation coming into force later this year.

“2018 online is a time to deliver. We know they can do more. The time for excuses is at an end. They need to change their behaviour and start delivering,” said Wallace.