Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on tech firms, such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, to ban under-18s from texting each other raunchy images and racy messages.
Speaking to the Commons health committee about suicide prevention, the big aubergine, who's clearly down with all of the weird modern slang kids are saying these days, added that it was up to the technology industry to use software to also detect incidents of cyberbullying.
“I think social media companies need to step up to the plate and show us how they can be the solution to the issue of mental ill health amongst teenagers, and not the cause of the problem,” he said, attempting to wash the data-grabbing government’s hands of all responsibility. “There is a lot of evidence that the technology industry, if they put their mind to it, can do really smart things.
“For example, I just ask myself the simple question as to why it is that you can’t prevent the texting of sexually explicit images by people under the age of 18, if that’s a lock that parents choose to put on a mobile phone contract. Because there is technology that can identify sexually explicit pictures and prevent it being transmitted.
“I ask myself why we can’t identify cyberbullying when it happens on social media platforms by word pattern recognition, and then prevent it happening. I think there are a lot of things where social media companies could put options in their software that could reduce the risks associated with social media, and I do think that is something which they should actively pursue in a way that hasn’t happened to date.”
All questions that have been debated in Twitter’s boardroom at some point, I’m sure. Great work Mr Hunt, I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg will be on the bum phone shortly. [Guardian]