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Social Media and Harmful Content: Big Firms at Risk of Fines

One News Page Staff Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Social Media and Harmful Content: Big Firms at Risk of Finesby 👩‍💻 Stephanie Boyd

UK Unveils Plan to Crack Down on Harmful Online Content

Under new proposals in UK law, it appears that social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter may come under greater scrutiny for the content that is allowed to be shared on their platforms – with fines implemented if they fail to protect their user bases.

According to plans lined up by the British government, bosses in charge of the networks will be legally required to take ownership of content shared online which may be seen as potentially harmful to young users and more besides. According to Sky News, the suggested moves are part of the UK’s ongoing focus on keeping the country’s citizens as safe as possible while browsing the internet.

Regulation over social media has been demanded by various groups for some time – however, there are concerns that government plans of this nature may be too general for them to be beneficial to the average user.

It’s been floated by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office that both a duty of care and an independent regulator will be brought on in an attempt to clamp down on negative content. Such content may include fake news, violent material and other content deemed to be inappropriate, particularly for children using such services.

UK Unveils Plan to Crack Down on Harmful Online Content
UK Unveils Plan to Crack Down on Harmful Online Content
[video: Newsy Studio]

If such plans are to go ahead, it has been stated that such a regulator will be able to implement fines and even site blocks in light of any breaches of compliance. Rules drafted by the government also suggest that they may be able to ‘potentially impose liability on individual member(s) of senior management’. This news will likely be welcomed by many campaigners for online safety – but will it necessarily do enough?

“The internet can be brilliant at connecting people across the world – but for too long, these companies have not done enough to protect users, especially children and young people, from harmful content,” Prime Minister Theresa May advised in a statement.

It is the latest internet safety measure suggested by the government in a line of moves to try and regulate the web more safely for British users. Recent plans to implement a block on all adult sites without ID card access have recently been delayed, however, and it is at present unclear when such measures will return to draft law. In the meantime, it appears UK politicians are pressing ahead with taking social media to task.

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