Davos WEF
Davos WEF

UK leader Theresa May calls on investors to help tech firms combat terrorism and child abuse

Key Points
  • The prime minister said technology giants could do more to protect society.
  • May said social networks need to stop providing a platform for terror, extremism and child abuse.
  • The leader urged tech investors to use their influence on firms such as Facebook and Twitter.
May: Harnessing power of tech fundamental to humanity

British Prime Minister Theresa May has called on technology investors to help social networks stop providing a platform for terrorism, extremism and child abuse.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, May said tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook needed to take their responsibilities to society more seriously.

"No one wants to be known as the terrorist platform or the first choice app for pedophiles," she said.

May also argued that investors have a part to play in the direction of social media companies.

May: UK will be advocate of free trade

"Earlier this month, a group of shareholders demanded that Facebook and Twitter disclose more information about sexual harassment, fake news, hate speech and other forms of abuse that take place on the companies' platforms," she said.

"Investors can make a big difference here by ensuring trust and safety issues are being properly considered. And I urge them to do so."

May noted that at least one new artificial intelligence (AI) company had opened in Britain every week for the past three years. She also warned against the misuse of AI, however, and said the U.K. would be joining WEF's new council on artificial intelligence in order to help shape regulation.

The prime minister said a post-Brexit Britain would remain a good place to set up a digital business, arguing that technological progress is "fundamental to the advance of humanity."