TECH bosses were tonight accused of snubbing Theresa May by sending only flunkies to a showdown summit with her in New York.
Two other world leaders also co-hosted the round table clash with her, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni.
During it, the trio gave the internet giants a month to devise new systems so they can take down extremist content within two hours of it being posted.
But instead of their founders or chief executives appearing in front of the trio of leaders in the margins of the annual UN General Assembly, the bosses dispatched mid-ranking functionaries and their lawyers.
Google’s billionaire owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin only agreed to send their General Counsel & Senior Vice-President Kent Walker.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerburg also stayed away, instead putting up his minion Head of Global Policy Monika Bickert.
Microsoft sent Vice President & Deputy General Counsel David Heiner, and Twitter could only manage Public Policy boss Lauren Culbertson.
Senior Tory MPs branded the tech chiefs’ stay away as a purposeful snub.
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Commons Culture Committee chair Damian Collins told The Sun: “We have sent our leaders to talk to them about an issue of global importance.
“If their leaders don’t attend, it is clear the tech companies don’t take it as importantly as we do.
“This is why the government is right to say it will take action against them if they don’t stop spreading these messages of hate.”
Downing Street aides tried to play down the slight.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “What matters is we’re engaging at senior level with these companies”.
But a government source added: “It’s very disappointing.
“The tech firms’ cast list shows that by just putting up legal and compliance people, they are attempting to defend themselves rather than actually engaging.”
Also at the New York showdown last night was Sir Martin Sorrell, the British boss of giant advertising company WPP plc.
He also heaped pressure on the tech giants to do more to fight terror or face losing billions in ad revenue.
Tech company bosses sent clear signals last night that they would again refuse Mrs May’s pleas to step up their action.
A senior official at one of America’s biggest internet firms dubbed the PM’s demands as “problematic at best”.
The anonymous figure attacked the British government for failing to come up with an adequate definition of extremism.
And another at the leaders’ meeting, Google’s Mr Walker, insisted the companies needed more help from governments to satisfy the demands.
Dubbing it “a shared challenge”, Mr Walker said: “It is a computer science challenge, when you’re dealing with the scale of the internet.
“We are all doing out part to try and move forward. We can’t do it alone and on our own, we need feedback from government and our users to remove that content.
“Whenever we can locate this material, we are removing it. The challenge is people then re-post it.”