Economy|Social Media
Facebook, Twitter face UK fines if they fail on harmful content
New UK rules could lead to sites which break rules being blocked and senior managers held liable for content.
Governments are wrestling over measures to better control illegal or dangerous content on social media, with the European Union set to unveil its own package on Tuesday [File: Regis Duvignau/Reuters]
15 Dec 2020
Facebook, Twitter and Chinese-owned TikTok face fines of up to 10 percent of turnover if they fail to remove and limit the spread of illegal content under laws proposed by Britain on Tuesday.
Tech platforms will also need to do more to protect children from being exposed to grooming, bullying and pornography, the government said, to ensure the safety of children online.
“We are entering a new age of accountability for tech to protect children and vulnerable users, to restore trust in this industry, and to enshrine in law safeguards for free speech,” Britain’s digital secretary, Oliver Dowden, said.
Governments are wrestling over measures to better control illegal or dangerous content on social media, with the European Union set to unveil its own package on Tuesday.
Britain’s new rules, which will be introduced in legislation next year, could lead to sites which break the rules being blocked and senior managers held liable for content.
Popular platforms will be required to have clear policies for content that, while not illegal, could cause harm such as disseminating misinformation about COVID vaccines.
Dowden said the framework would give large digital businesses “robust rules” to follow.
Safety first
Facebook and Google have said they would work with the government on the regulations. Both companies said they took safety extremely seriously and they had already changed their policies and operations to better tackle the issue.
“The safety of our online communities – our users and our creators – is our top priority, and so we haven’t waited for legislation to act,” said Ben McOwen Wilson, managing director of Google’s YouTube UK.
“We have worked with industry, community groups and the government to tackle harmful content.”
Fast-growing video-sharing platform TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, said it was looking forward to reviewing the proposals and working with the government to continue to strengthen online safety.
“At TikTok, safety isn’t a bolt-on or a nice-to-have, it’s our starting point to building a creative, diverse community,” a spokesman said.
British media regulator Ofcom will be given the power to fine companies up to 18 million pounds ($24 million) or 10 percent of global turnover, whichever is higher, for breaking the rules.
It will also be able to block non-compliant services from being accessed in Britain.
Online journalism and reader comments on news publishers’ websites will be exempt to safeguard freedom of expression
Trump’s vote fraud claims draw con­tin­ued scruti­ny from Twit­ter
Twit­ter is reg­u­lar­ly flag­ging his claims of elec­tion fraud, but these cen­sures may change once he leaves of­fice.
23 Nov 2020
Twit­ter sus­pends Thai roy­al­ist ac­count tied to in­flu­ence cam­paign
Ac­count thought to be part of ef­fort to boost roy­al­ist mes­sages af­ter months of anti-es­tab­lish­ment protests.
30 Nov 2020
Aus­tralia de­mands Chi­na apol­o­gy over ‘re­pug­nant’ Twit­ter post
Aus­tralia de­mands re­moval of fake pho­to of sol­dier post­ed by of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment spokesman, as ties de­te­ri­o­rate.
30 Nov 2020
Twit­ter ex­pands hate speech rules to in­clude race, eth­nic­i­ty
The com­pa­ny banned speech that de­hu­man­is­es oth­ers based on re­li­gion or caste last year.
3 Dec 2020
Pfizer CEO awarded $1M Genesis Prize for developing COVID vaccine
Foreign investors eye takeover of two Brazilian football clubs
International airlines suspend some flights to US over 5G
Turkey signs $5bn swap deal with UAE, boosting foreign reserves
Latest Ukraine updates: Blinken pledges ‘relentless’ diplomacy
How real is Russia’s threat to deploy missiles to Latin America?
Putin and Raisi back closer ties in Kremlin meeting
UK: Johnson fights for his premiership after MP defects to Labour
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2022 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen.To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.