Ofcom to be put in charge of regulating internet in UK

Posted in: Government & Policy at 13/02/2020 04:30

Ofcom will be put in charge of regulating the internet, the government has announced, with executives at internet firms potentially facing substantial fines or even prison sentences if they fail to protect users from “harmful and illegal content” online.

Under the proposals, Ofcom will not have the power to remove specific posts from social media platforms. Instead, it will require internet companies such as Facebook and Google to publish explicit statements setting out which content and behaviour they deem to be acceptable on their sites. The media regulator will then ensure internet businesses enforce these standards “consistently and transparently”.

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Regulator Ofcom to have more powers over UK social media
New powers will be given to the watchdog Ofcom to force social media firms to act over harmful content.

Until now, firms like Facebook, Tiktok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have largely been self-regulating.

The companies have defended their own rules about taking down unacceptable content, but critics say independent rules are needed to keep people safe.

It is unclear what penalties Ofcom will be able to enforce to target violence, cyber-bullying and child abuse.

Britain to Create Regulator for Internet Content
Britain on Wednesday introduced a plan that would give the government more latitude to regulate internet content, as part of an effort to force Facebook, YouTube and other internet giants to do more to police their platforms.

The government said the country’s media regulator, known as Ofcom, would take on new responsibilities monitoring internet content, and would have the power to issue penalties against companies that do not do enough to combat “harmful and illegal terrorist and child abuse content.”

Social media: How do other governments regulate it?
The government is to outline new powers for the media regulator Ofcom to police social media.

It is supposed to make the companies protect users from content involving things like violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse.

Companies will have to ensure that harmful content is removed quickly and take steps to prevent it appearing in the first place.

They had previously relied largely on self-governance. Sites such as YouTube and Facebook have their own rules about what is unacceptable and the way that users are expected to behave towards one another.

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