08:42 GMT10 July 2020
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    Google, Facebook and other social media websites that rely on advertising revenue are in the midst of a major media backlash that could result in legal ramifications, as extremist material keeps showing up next to sponsor-related content, drawing the ire of citizens and lawmakers alike.

    Recently, ministers in the UK have begun discussing holding websites found to have hosted extremist content liable for its distribution. UK Prime Minister Theresa May suggested that, when it comes to taking down inflammatory content, the "ball is in their court," referring to the social-media giants, according to the Telegraph.

    Google saw the UK government recently remove ad content from YouTube, following the identification of "inappropriate material," including extremist content and hate-speech, according to BBC News. The chief of Google's European operations publicly apologized, but many have observed that there is no stated corporate policy in place to address violations of content guidelines.

    A spokesperson for the UK prime minister stated that, "The fight against terrorism and hate speech has to be a joint one. Social media companies have a responsibility when it comes to making sure this material is not disseminated and we have been clear repeatedly that we think that they can and must do more."

    A handful of prominent US companies, Verizon, AT&T, and Johnson & Johnson among them, pulled advertising from Youtube websites on Thursday, claiming similar concerns.

    Specific laws in the UK to punish websites for hosting offensive content are said to be in the planning stages, as official legislation has not yet been introduced.


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