Tech revolution for all: London mayor

HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen

HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen

Messages telling Sadiq Khan "blow himself up" and other racist online abuse were read out by the London Mayor as he demanded action from social media firms to tackle hate speech.

The Labour politician - the first British politician to speak at the arts and culture festival - also criticised the government for "sitting on their hands while the tech revolution has happened around them", reports The Guardian.

He said: "There's been a dereliction of duty on the part of politicians and policymakers to ensure that the rapid growth in technology is utilised and steered in a direction that benefits us all".

"All of this is dividing and polarising us, rather than uniting us".

"We simply must do more to protect people online". But this is not always happening, or happening quickly enough.

"Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are finally starting to react to the criticisms and are developing technology to make sure the reporting process becomes quicker and more effective", he is expected to say. "With the skills and resources these companies have at their disposal - I believe it's possible to go further and faster".

Hate speech and fake news have been rife on social media, with Twitter revealing Russian bots retweeted Donald Trump tweets 500,000 times in the run up to the U.S. election, while the government has considered imposing a levy on tech giants in a bid to combat online abuse.

"Ultimately - there must be greater responsibility taken by some tech companies for the impact they're having on the world".

Khan will single out Uber - which had its operating license revoked after it ran afoul of Transport for London's regulators - saying that the company "must play by the rules", and warning that the sharing economy, if left unchecked, could lead to workers' pay and rights being eroded. "Evolving economies must mean evolving regulation".

The London Mayor is speaking in Texas.

Polgreen, who runs HuffPost in the U.S., will then spend time with Khan discussing some of the key themes from his speech, and take questions from the audience in the auditorium and online.