Dr Luke has raised his concerns over social media directly with the Home Office Minister, Victoria Atkins, in Parliament yesterday (July 14). Having already campaigned for action on the harmful effects of social media, the disgraceful racist abuse after the Euro 2020 final prompted Dr Luke to raise the issue once again, in order to encourage social media companies to further protect its users from harm.
Speaking during Urgent Questions on Racist Abuse, Dr Luke commented that the night of the Euro’s final “should have been a night of celebration” but instead resulted in “racist abuse aimed at three men simply doing their job, and this is not acceptable”. Describing how social media is “at the centre of the storm” and how there is a “growing influence on our lives, from bullying to racism, to my interest of body image”, Dr Luke asked the Home Office Minister, Victoria Atkins, whether social media companies have a “duty and a responsibility to work proactively with Government and the police to better our society.”
In response, the Home Office Minister said she “most certainly” agrees with Dr Luke, describing how the Government does “a lot of work with online companies across a great range of subject matter”, but suggested “the message is coming loud and clear – not just in this country, but across the world” that “we have got to somehow tame” the “wild west of the internet”. Atkins further replied that “these more hateful practices” should not be “dominating our national headlines and taking away from the greater achievements of our England team.”
Dr Luke has previously raised the negative effects of social media with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during Prime Minister’s Questions in April. The Prime Minister was asked specifically about the harmful effects of unrealistic body images on social media, which can have a highly detrimental impact on both physical and mental health. In response, Boris Johnson recognised that a “very important point was being raised” and that he was “aware of the pressure young people in particular can feel as a result of doctored images.” Dr Luke will continue to campaign to restrict highly damaging, harmful, and unrealistic images, to help reduce the negative influence which social media has on our everyday lives.
After the Parliamentary Session, Dr Luke said: “The kind of abuse seen on social media this week is absolutely disgraceful. No one in any walk of life should tolerate abuse for doing their job. Social media has the potential to be a highly damaging influence on our lives, from racism, to bullying, to unrealistic representations of the way we look. This isn’t about quashing free speech, it is about dealing with behaviour and content we simply would not accept in the real world, and we should not accept it online either.
Social media companies have a responsibility to ensure that the content posted on its platforms is free from abuse. I was glad to be able to use Parliamentary time to raise such an important issue, and I would like to see social media organisations work far more closely with Government and the police to ensure users have a positive experience.”