Britain plans social media regulation to battle harmful content

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain proposed new online safety laws on Monday that would slap penalties on social media companies and technology firms if they fail to protect their users from harmful content.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook logo is reflected in glasses in this picture illustration taken April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/File Photo

Easy access to damaging material particularly among young people has caused growing concern worldwide and came into the spotlight in Britain after the death of 14-year-old schoolgirl Molly Russell, which her parents said came after she had viewed online material on depression and suicide.

Governments across the world are wrestling over how to better control content on social media platforms, often blamed for encouraging abuse, the spread of online pornography, and for influencing or manipulating voters.

Global worries were recently stoked by the live streaming of the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand on one of Facebook’s platforms, after which Australia said it would fine social media and web hosting companies and imprison executives if violent content is not removed “expeditiously”.

In a policy paper widely trailed in British media, the government said it would look into possibly using fines, blocking access to websites, and imposing liability on senior tech company management for failing to limit the distribution of harmful content.

It would also set up a regulator to police the rules.

TechUK, an industry trade group, said the paper was a significant step forward, but one which needed to be firmed up during its 12-week consultation. It said some aspects of the government’s approach were too vague.

“It is vital that the new framework is effective, proportionate and predictable,” techUK said in a statement, adding not all concerns could be addressed through regulation.

Facebook said it was looking forward to working with the government to ensure new regulations were effective, repeating its founder Mark Zuckerberg’s line that regulations were needed to have a standard approach across platforms.

COMPLEX ISSUES

Rebecca Stimson, Facebook’s head of UK public policy, said any new rules should strike a balance between protecting society and supporting innovation and free speech.

“These are complex issues to get right and we look forward to working with the government and parliament to ensure new regulations are effective,” Stimson said in a statement.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that while the Internet could be brilliant at connecting people, it had not done enough to protect users, especially children and young people.

“That is not good enough, and it is time to do things differently,” May said in a statement. “We have listened to campaigners and parents, and are putting a legal duty of care on internet companies to keep people safe.”

The duty of care would make companies take more responsibility for the safety of users and tackle harm caused by content or activity on their services. The regulator, funded by industry in the medium term, will set clear safety standards.

A committee of lawmakers has also demanded more is done to make political advertising and campaigning on social media more transparent.

“It is vital that our electoral law is brought up to date as soon as possible, so that social media users know who is contacting them with political messages and why,” said Conservative Damian Collins, who chairs the parliamentary committee for digital, culture, media and sport.

“Should there be an early election, then emergency legislation should be introduced to achieve this.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Paul Sandle; Editing by David Holmes

Source link

more recommended stories

  • EBay’s strong quarter, robust forecast send shares 5% higher

    (Reuters) – EBay Inc beat analysts’.

  • Twitter reports surprise quarterly user growth, revenue beats

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Twitter Inc.

  • Tesla says robotaxis coming to U.S. roads next year, slams rivals’ use of Lidar

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Chief Executive.

  • Samsung Electronics delays Galaxy Fold media events in China

    SEOUL (Reuters) – Smartphone maker Samsung.

  • Tesla investigating video of parked Model S exploding in Shanghai

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – U.S. electric vehicle.

  • Toyota establishes research institute in China to study hydrogen, green technologies

    The logo of Toyota is seen.

  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffers capsule anomaly during Florida tests

    (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered.

  • China releases new rules on game approvals

    People play online games at an.

  • U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

    (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence has accused.

  • Foxconn recommits to Wisconsin plant, despite governor’s doubts

    President Donald Trump (left) and Rep..

  • Mir card payment system looks beyond Russia

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – After Western sanctions.

  • Qualcomm’s joint venture with Chinese province to shut down: The Information

    FILE PHOTO: A Qualcomm sign is.

  • Pinterest, Zoom shares surge in market debut after IPOs

    (Reuters) – Shares of Pinterest Inc.

  • China’s Guangdong gives Tencent approval to distribute Nintendo’s Switch console

    FILE PHOTO: A Tencent sign is.

  • Pinterest raises $1.4 billion in IPO in sign of sustained demand after Lyft struggles

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pinterest Inc.

  • Digital banking startup Aspiration seeks new funding round

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Aspiration, a.

  • Foxconn’s Gou says will follow order of sea goddess to run for Taiwan presidency

    Terry Gou, founder and chairman of.

  • Apple likens Qualcomm chips to fried chicken as trial begins

    FILE PHOTO: A surveillance camera is.

  • Foxconn’s Gou says may run for Taiwan president, step back from daily business

    TAIPEI (Reuters) – Foxconn’s Chairman Terry.

  • Hulu buys back AT&T’s stake in $1.43 billion deal

    FILE PHOTO: The AT&T logo is.

  • Electronics For Imaging to sell itself to Siris Capital unit

    (Reuters) – Digital printing company Electronics.

  • Asia’s tech champions zero in on main street banking

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asia’s internet.

  • Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp hit by outages – downdetector

    FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users.

  • World’s largest plane makes first flight over California

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The world’s.

  • U.S. senators introduce social media bill to ban ‘dark patterns’ tricks

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators.

  • China’s JD.com boss criticizes ‘slackers’ as company makes cuts

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Richard Liu, the.

  • Facebook more than doubles Zuckerberg compensation to $22.6 million

    FILE PHOTO: Facebook’s founder and CEO.

  • Dutch PM Rutte: no decisions yet on Chinese role in 5G roll out

    FILE PHOTO: Dutch Prime Minister Mark.

  • Uber unveils IPO with warning it may never make a profit

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Uber Technologies.

  • Disney CEO Iger takes a dig at social media, says Hitler would have loved it: Variety

    FILE PHOTO: Disney’s Chief Executive Officer.

  • Lyft’s stock slide casts long shadow on Uber’s IPO

    (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc may.

  • Lyft shares hit new low as Uber IPO chatter revs up

    FILE PHOTO: Lyft supporters gather for.