Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 3-Britain to make social media platforms responsible for harmful content

Reuters | London | Updated: 12-02-2020 19:49 IST | Created: 12-02-2020 19:40 IST
UPDATE 3-Britain to make social media platforms responsible for harmful content
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Britain said it would force social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snap to do more to block or remove harmful content on their platforms.

Following a consultation, the UK government said on Wednesday it planned to legislate to ensure companies had systems in place to tackle harmful content such as child abuse, cyberbullying, and terrorist propaganda. The policy, which will be developed in the coming months, would not place an undue burden on business, the government said. Penalties had not yet been decided, but it said the new rules would be enforced in a "fair, proportionate and transparent way".

Governments globally are wrestling over how to better control the content on social media platforms, often blamed for encouraging abuse, the spread of online pornography and for influencing or manipulating voters. Germany introduced tough regulations on social media in 2018, which can see platforms fined if they do not review and remove illegal content within 24 hours of it being posted. Australia has also legislated.

"As the internet continues to grow and transform our lives it is essential that we get the balance right between a thriving, open and vibrant virtual world, and one in which users are protected from harm," Britain's Digital Minister Nicky Morgan and Interior Minister Priti Patel said in a statement. The new regulations will apply to platforms on which user-generated content is shared, for example through comments, forums or video sharing.

The regulator, most likely media watchdog Ofcom, must be able to take action against tech bosses who did not take online safety seriously, the government said, adding that it will set out its position on senior manager liability in the coming months. Ben Packer, a lawyer at Linklaters who has advised technology companies, said the proposals showed Britain was committed to implementing one of the most ambitious regulatory frameworks yet, which would have a significant impact on tech giants.

FACEBOOK BACKS BETTER REGULATION Facebook and Google said they would work with the UK government on the new regulations.

Facebook said it had long called for better regulation. "New rules are needed so that we have a more common approach across platforms and private companies aren't making so many important decisions alone," said Rebecca Stimson, Facebook's head of UK public policy.

"This is a complex challenge as any new rules need to protect people from harm without undermining freedom of expression or the incredible benefits the internet has brought." Keeping people safe was something Facebook took extremely seriously, she said, and in recent years the company had tripled the number of people working on the issue to 35,000 and was using artificial intelligence to find and remove harmful content.

Social media companies have largely self-regulated, as the law has struggled to keep up with technology. The managing director of Google's YouTube UK, Ben McOwen Wilson, said the platform looked forward to working with the government to ensure a free, open and safer internet.

"To help keep our community safe, we haven't waited for regulation; we've created new technology, hired expert reviewers, worked with external specialists, and reviewed our policies to ensure they are fit for the evolving challenges we face online," he said. Britain first announced last year that it would develop new online safety laws, saying they would be the toughest in the world.

Packer said the proposals announced on Wednesday moved away from the previous debate about whether social media companies should be classified as 'publishers', and therefore subject to libel and other laws, and focused instead on making platforms responsible for the systems they had in place to deal with harmful content.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



Maritime transport post-COVID 19: Disruptions ahead in business models, techno-investments, regulations

Cargo shipping is a crucial part of the global supply chains and is likely to become more resilient along with efforts to make supply chains resilient but cruise liners could face much more disruptive changes....

Asia-Pacific response to COVID-19 and climate emergency must build a resilient and sustainable future

... ...


Latest News

China's recent COVID-19 cases rise to 1,100 with 63 new infections

China has reported 63 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 61 imported ones, rasing concern of a second wave of infections as the country on Wednesday lifted more-than two-month lockdown of Wuhan, the origin point and epi...

177 Tablighi Jamaat attendees quarantined in WB, says Mamata Banerjee

As many as 177 people, including 108 from various countries, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi, have been quarantined in West Bengal, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday.108 of those who were at the event at Nizam...

Trump attacks WHO over criticism of US approach to COVID-19

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday local time stepped up attack on World Health Organisation while referring to the January 14 tweet made by the UN Health Body which claimed that there was no human-to-human transmission. World Health Or...

5,114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India: ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research ICMR on Wednesday confirmed 5,114 positive cases of coronavirus in the country.A total of 1,27,919 samples have been tested as on April 8, 2020, and 5,114 individuals have been confirmed positive among...

Give Feedback