Social media companies must “go much further and faster in removing hateful content” from their platforms, the prime minister’s spokesman has said.
The comments from Downing Street came in the wake of Twitter’s perceived inaction to address antisemitic tweets posted by grime artist Wiley.
A number of users, including celebrities and politicians, are staging a 48-hour walkout from the platform in response.
“Social media companies need to go much further and faster in removing hateful content such as this,” the PM’s spokesman told reporters.
It comes in the wake of Home Secretary Priti Patel writing to Twitter and Instagram about the length of time it took to remove the “abhorrent” posts.
“The message is clear: Twitter needs to do better on this,” the spokesman added.
Police are currently investigating a series of antisemitic comments posted by Wiley, 41, whose real name is Richard Cowie, on his social media accounts this weekend.
Fellow musicians Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Jessie Ware, as well as actors Jason Isaacs and Tracy-Ann Oberman, and a number of politicians have pledged to boycott Twitter for 48 hours from 9am on Monday morning.
The is being promoted on Twitter using the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate.
Britain’s Chief Rabbi has accused Twitter and Facebook of displaying a lack of “responsible leadership” in their response.
Ephraim Mirvis said he would join the 48-hour boycott of the social media sites from Monday.
In letters sent to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the Jewish leader said: “This cannot be allowed to stand. Your inaction amounts to complicity.”
It comes after Wiley’s management company, A-List Management, “cut all ties” – while Twitter banned him for seven days.
Wiley posted a screenshot on Instagram, showing he had been given an hours-long Twitter ban.
But he was back online later on Saturday morning, and after he resumed tweeting, he was given a seven-day ban from the platform.
He also posted a video on Instagram in which he said “crawl out from under your little rocks and defend your Jewish privilege”.
Twitter was accused of “ignoring antisemitism” because the tweets were still visible 12 hours after they were first posted on Friday. Some have now been removed.
I’m in. Or out, rather.
I’m so used to antisemitic hatred, caricature and conspiracy theories from governments, looneytunes, the left, right and reasonable middle that I long ago lost hope for change online or in life.
— Jason Isaacs (@jasonsfolly) July 26, 2020
In a statement Twitter said: “Our mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely.
“We have developed policies and platform capabilities designed to protect and serve the public conversation, and as always, are committed to amplifying voices from underrepresented communities and marginalised groups,” the company added.
The artist’s now former manager, John Woolf, who is Jewish, wrote on Twitter: “Following Wiley’s antisemitic tweets today we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for antisemitism.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism said it would be contacting the Cabinet Office to ask that the award of an MBE for services to music given to Wiley is revoked.
In January, Wiley brought Stormzy’s mother into an online feud between the two British rappers, threatening to “rip that weave off her head” in a new track.