Sci-tech

UK Regulator Gets New Powers to Take on Facebook, Twitter

UK Regulator Gets New Powers to Take on Facebook, Twitter”

While regulated companies will need to remove the former content "expeditiously" and put in place "effective systems" to minimise the risk of illegal content appearing in the first place (although these terms are yet to be defined/explained in any detail), it will give regulated companies some freedom to put in place its own policies and processes relating to legal but potentially harmful content (with a higher level of protection to be afforded to children). That's why it is right that we have a strong regulator to ensure social media firms fulfil their vital responsibility to vulnerable users'.

The regulator will play a key role in enforcing a statutory duty of care to protect internet users from harmful and illegal terrorist and child abuse content, the government said in a statement.

The new measures to clamp down on harmful content online come after a period of consultation following the government's Online Harms White Paper, published in April.

Ofcom must be given powers to "lift up the bonnet" on tech giants urgently and proactively, the NSPCC has said, in response to the regulator being given the job of policing online platforms.

"These are complex topics, and it is essential that we find a solution that both enhances digital safety and fosters a thriving internet economy". The Response does not shed any light on the future penalties regime of Ofcom with its "Online Harms" hat on; in particular, there is no indication of whether Ofcom will be given similar fining powers to the ICO (up to the higher of 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million).

"The new regulatory framework will instead require companies, where relevant, to explicitly state what content and behaviour is acceptable on their sites and then for platforms to enforce this consistently".

The tech companies under Ofcom's remit will be also offered enough clarity in any regulations or codes that are subsequently drawn up, with expectations placed on them clearly stated. This means that, should the social media landscape shift suddenly, as it is wont to do, it shouldn't take lengthy new procedures for adaptation to catch up.

Baroness Morgan told the BBC: "There are many platforms who ideally would not have wanted regulation, but I think that's changing".

"Two thirds of adults in the United Kingdom are concerned about content online, and close to half say that they have seen hateful content in the past year", Wednesday's report said. Ofcom has an analogous role in regulating broadcast TV and Video-on-Demand services, and so should have transferable skills and people to take on the new role.

The government will publish a full consultation response in Spring 2020.

Social media companies like Facebook and Instagram will be subject to more scrutiny in the United Kingdom over harmful content appearing on their platforms, with new powers awarded to a government-appointed regulator. He has agreed to stay on until the new Chair is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

However, there has been no confirmation of what punishments or fines the bolstered regulator will be able to hand out. "That means more than a hefty fine - it means having the clout to disrupt the activities of businesses that fail to comply, and ultimately, the threat of a prison sentence for breaking the law", mentioned Knight.



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