Social media giants have been told to act faster to remove “appalling hatred” from their platforms following anger over anti-Semitic posts made by grime artist Wiley.
Police are investigating a series of comments made on the musician’s Instagram and Twitter accounts on Friday that led to him being banned from both for seven days.
In a tweet on Sunday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The antisemitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent.
“They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long, and I have asked them for a full explanation.
“Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms.”
Government minister Robert Jenrick has echoed calls by the Home Secretary for social media sites to explain the length of time they took to remove posts made by grime artist Wiley.
The minister for housing, communities and local government tweeted: “I was appalled to see Wiley’s antisemitic racist rant on social media yesterday, which should not have been able to remain online for so long.
“@pritipatel has asked Twitter and Instagram for an explanation, which as Communities Secretary I fully support..”
But the Government faced criticism for delays to bringing in the Online Harms Bill which could compel social media companies to take swift action.
Ministers first promised tough new legislation more than a year ago and has been accused of dragging its feet in taking on big tech firms.
Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens said: “The failure to tackle these high-profile examples of hate speech shows why we so desperately need proper legislation to force the social media companies to keep people safe online.
“Social media companies have had repeated opportunities to show they can police their sites effectively. But when high profile individuals are allowed to keep their platforms after spreading vile anti-Semitic abuse –
and then doubling down when challenged – it’s clear that self-regulation isn’t working.
“The government promised this bill more than a year ago – it’s high time they showed they take the safety of those who use the internet as seriously as the needs and influence of the big tech firms.”
Following Wiley’s posts, Twitter was accused of “ignoring anti-Semitism” as his tweets were still visible 12 hours after they were first posted.
A number of tweets have now been removed and he has been given a seven-day ban by the site.
A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said yesterday the rapper had been blocked from his account for seven days.
Twitter previously said Wiley’s account had been temporarily locked “for violating our hateful conduct policy”, while Facebook said there was “no place for hate speech on Instagram”.