'The public should start boycotting social media companies in order to force them to act over online child abuse images, one of Britain's most senior police officers has recommended.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the country's leading child protection police officer, said handing out fines to tech giants, was just a "drop in the ocean", adding that damaging their brand might be the only way to get them to take notice.
He said firms such as Google and Facebook had the technology and the funds to eradicate indecent images online, but had persistently failed to act voluntarily.
Mr Bailey said it was time for consumers to consider wielding their commercial clout by boycotting the firms responsible.
"Ultimately I think the only thing they will genuinely respond to is when their brand is damaged," he explained.
Last month, following a campaign by the Telegraph, the Government announced plans to introduce new Duty of Care laws to hold tech firms accountable for damaging material online.
Platforms that host content promoting bullying, harassment, self harm, suicide, child abuse and terrorism could face huge fines as well as senior executives being held personally responsible.
But while welcoming the proposals, Mr Bailey said he feared the suggested sanctions might still not be enough to persuade the overseas firms to act.
He said he had seen nothing to give him "confidence that companies that are creating these platforms are taking their responsibilities seriously enough".
He went on: "Ultimately the financial penalties for some of the giants of this world are going to be an absolute drop in the ocean.
"But if the brand starts to become tainted, and consumers start to see how certain platforms are permitting abuse, are permitting the exploitation of young people, then maybe the damage to that brand will be so significant that they will feel compelled to do something in response.
"We have got to look at how we drive a conversation within our society that says 'do you know what, we are not going to use that any more, that system or that brand or that site' because of what they are permitting to be hosted or what they are allowing to take place."'
Read more: Duty of Care: Senior police call for the public to boycott social media over failure to act on child abuse images
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