Non-compliance to British laws will attract fines on social media companies

Social media companies operating in Britain, including Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok could face fines up to 10% of their respective turnover if they fail to remove and limit the spread of illegal content under laws proposed by Britain on Tuesday.

In a statement the British government said, social media platforms will need to do more to protect children from being exposed to online pornography, grooming, and bullying.

“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,” said Oliver Dowden, Britain’s Digital Secretary.

The European Union is also set to unveil its own laws later today. Governments all over the globe are wrestling over measures to better control dangerous and illegal content on social media.

New legislation adopted by Britain, which will be introduced next year, could lead to non-compliant sites being blocked with senior managers being held liable for content.

Popular platforms will have to have clear policies around social media content, which although may not be illegal, but which could cause harm, including disseminating misinformation about COVID vaccines.

The framework will provide digital businesses “robust rules” to follow, said Dowden.

Earlier this year in February, Google and Facebook said, they would work with the government on the regulations. Both companies have said they have taken the government concerns seriously and that they had already changed their policies and operations to better tackle the issue.

In Britain, Ofcom, a media regulator, will be empowered to fine companies up to $24 million (18 million pounds) or 10% of global turnover, whichever is higher, for not complying to the rules.

Ofcom will also be able to block non-compliant services from being accessed in the country.

Reader comments on news publishers’ websites as well as online journalism will be exempt to safeguard freedom of expression.

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