05/06/2015 07:31 BST | Updated 05/06/2016 06:59 BST

This Isn't the First Time Pictures of Child Abuse Have Been Openly Available on Social Media - But It Should Be the Last

The explosion of social media in recent years has helped change society - providing the opportunity for millions to share information, pictures and films.

And while we can applaud an 'open house' approach of sorts it can sometimes result in completely unacceptable material being posted. Yesterday saw one of those occasions when a Facebook video showed a terrified, sobbing baby being swung around by its arms, tipped upside down and dunked in water. It was two minutes of horror that I never want to see again.

Incredibly, Facebook have refused to take it down because, they say it has not broken any of their rules and is 'raising awareness.' Apart from concerns about what should and shouldn't be openly accessible on social media sites, there has been no consideration of the baby's welfare, which I am deeply concerned about.

This is not the first time of course that disturbing pictures of child abuse have been easily accessible and openly available on social media sites but the NSPCC believes it should be the last.

This is why today I have written to Baroness Joanna Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security and Ed Vaizey, who monitors the digital industry for government urging them to make these companies responsible for the material they 'host' and to ensure they do all they can to protect children, whether they are viewing the content or are involved in it.

We can't have social media sites hiding behind individually devised terms and conditions when they refuse to remove inappropriate material. Facebook say they will 'remove graphic images when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence.' And yet content of the type we saw yesterday still appears, leading the public to question their definitions.

To date the UK has supported and encouraged digital spaces to work within a self-regulatory framework. But many are citing often contradictory terms and conditions or geographical complexities as a reason for not removing horrific material and confronting this issue in a systematic and comprehensive way.

And research has consistently highlighted that too many providers are simply not doing enough to protect children.

In these circumstances we believe an industry wide approach based on strict rules are the only solution.

The Children's Charities Coalition for Internet Safety has recommended that a new body be established, armed with the legal powers to ensure internet companies are transparent and accountable in respect of actions aimed at supporting online child safety.

We believe this body should also be armed with the power to make legally binding orders requiring internet companies take the necessary measures to safeguard children online. And we shouldn't stop there.

There has to be a global commitment to tackling this problem as too often the companies involved are based abroad. And as was highlighted recently the UK may also lose further control if EU proposals regarding 'net neutrality' are implemented.

Over the last two years, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the Government and industry have taken major strides in tackling child sexual abuse images on the internet. Google, Microsoft and other companies have prioritised this issue.

More than a year ago there was a meeting of social media companies to take a look at these issues. But that initial eagerness to make progress has dissipated without any major progress being made.

We have just re-elected a new government and now is the time for a renewed mandate and focus because I strongly believe this matter is too serious to be ignored.