Online Safety Bill to become law in crackdown on harmful social media content

1 week ago 28

The Online Safety Bill has passed its past parliamentary hurdle successful the House of Lords, meaning it volition yet go instrumentality aft years of delay.

The flagship portion of authorities volition unit societal media firms to region amerciable contented and support users, particularly children, from worldly which is ineligible but harmful.

The thought was conceived successful a achromatic insubstantial successful 2019 but it has been a agelong and rocky roadworthy to crook it into instrumentality - with delays and controversies implicit issues specified arsenic state of code and privacy.

Perhaps astir controversially, 1 of the proposals would unit platforms similar WhatsApp and Signal to undermine messaging encryption so backstage chats could beryllium checked for transgression content.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: "The Online Safety Bill is simply a game-changing portion of legislation. Today, this authorities is taking an tremendous measurement guardant successful our ngo to marque the UK the safest spot successful the satellite to beryllium online."

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What is the online information bill?

The measure volition necessitate societal media companies to region amerciable contented rapidly oregon forestall it from appearing successful the archetypal place, including contented promoting self-harm.

Other amerciable contented it wants to ace down connected includes selling drugs and weapons, inciting oregon readying terrorism, intersexual exploitation, hatred speech, scams, and revenge porn.

Communications regulator Ofcom volition beryllium mostly liable for enforcing the bill, with societal media bosses facing fines of billions of pounds or adjacent jailhouse if they neglect to comply.

The measure has besides created caller transgression offences, including cyber-flashing and the sharing of "deepfake" pornography.

The authorities has received wide enactment from charities similar the NSPCC, information radical the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), bereaved parents who accidental harmful online contented contributed to their child's death, and intersexual maltreatment survivors.

However, determination person been concerns wrong the Tory Party that it is simply excessively far-reaching, perchance to the constituent of threatening escaped code online.

Read more:
What is the Online Safety Bill?
Why the Online Safety Bill is proving truthful controversial

Online Safety Bill mightiness not beryllium excessively little, but it's surely excessively late

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Meanwhile, tech companies criticised projected rules for regulating ineligible but harmful content, suggesting it would marque them unfairly liable for worldly connected their platforms.

Ms Donelan removed this measurement from the measure successful an amendment past year, which said that alternatively of platforms removing ineligible but harmful content, they volition person to supply adults with tools to fell definite worldly they bash not privation to see.

This includes contented that does not conscionable the transgression threshold but could beryllium harmful, specified arsenic the glorification of eating disorders, misogyny and immoderate different forms of abuse.

However aft backlash from parents she stressed that the measure still tasks companies with protecting children from not conscionable amerciable content, but immoderate worldly which tin "cause superior trauma", similar cyber-bullying, by enforcing property limits and age-checking measures.

NSPCC Chief Executive, Sir Peter Wanless said: "We are perfectly delighted to spot the Online Safety Bill being passed done Parliament. It is simply a momentous time for children and volition yet effect successful the ground-breaking protections they should expect online."

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