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Priti Patel attacks social media companies as migrant crossings intensify

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Migrants typically cross the English Channel in small and flimsy boats

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has sharply criticized social media companies for allegedly “glamorizing” migrant crossings across the English Channel as frustration grows at the government’s inability to tackle the growing problem.

The Home Secretary reportedly wrote to the social media companies on Saturday (June 06), to demand they must deal with the “totally unacceptable” posts by their users promoting the “lethal crossings”.  

Among the viral posts is a video on TikTok which has been watched more than 800,000 times and appears to show a group of mostly young men crossing the English Channel in a small boat.

Other viral posts centered on illegal Channel crossings have appeared on multiple platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

In her letter Patel asserts that the social media posts “encourage others to leave a safe European country and put theirs and their family’s life at risk and are even used by people smugglers to promote their deadly business”.

"What these posts don't mention are the people who have died trying to make this crossing, or those forced to spend 13 hours in unseaworthy boats in freezing waters”, the Home Secretary added.

Patel’s attack on social media companies comes against the backdrop of an intensifying problem despite the government’s best efforts to get to grips with the issue.

The number of people crossing the 21-mile stretch of water separating France from England has almost doubled compared with the same period last year, with more than 3,100 migrants managing to reach the English coast by the end of May.

Furthermore, almost 600 migrants were intercepted attempting to make the crossing over three days this past week alone.

Despite repeated co-ordination with the French authorities, the UK has so far failed to adequately address the crisis at source.


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