Priti Patel has demanded that social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok remove posts that “glamourise” illegal migrant Channel crossings.
The home secretary has written to a swathe of online giants to demand they “put an end to the exploitation of your platforms by criminals involved in organised immigration crime”.
Her letters came after it emerged that people smugglers were using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to sell their services, while a video on TikTok showing migrants illegally crossing from Calais to Dover was viewed 800,000 times.
More than 4,000 people have made the crossing between Calais to Dover this year, with 2021’s total set to exceed the 8,400 who made the journey last year.
The Mail on Sunday reports that Patel said to the firms: “Posts which promote and even glamorise these lethal and illegal crossings, either by boat or in the back of lorries, are totally unacceptable.
“‘What these posts and adverts do not 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.
“These adverts directly lead to loss of life and I implore you to do everything in your power to quickly and proactively remove posts related to illegal crossings before more men, women and children die in the Channel or on other illegal migration routes.”
It comes as Kent County Council is preparing to launch legal action against the Home Office for being left at “‘breaking point” by the increasing amount of children making the journey from Dover to Calais.
The council is calling on Patel to disperse the children to different parts of the UK after they arrive.
More than 250 children have made the Channel crossing this year, including about 50 unaccompanied girls.
Kent County Council has a statutory duty to house them, however it argues that its services have been pushed to breaking point by the number of new arrivals.