After the European Commission proposals to limit disinformation and hateful content on social networks, the United Kingdom is advancing its pawns. Digital Minister Oliver Dowden and Home Secretary Priti Patel have announced new laws that have severe consequences for social media giants who do not control their platforms, like Facebook or Twitter. Heavy fines and blockages are to be expected.
A “New era of responsibility”
” UK leads the way in ‘new era of accountability’ for social media », Proclaims the government. The British media watchdog Ofcom will therefore be able to block access to platforms that expose users to content deemed harmful. As for the fines, the British government says they could reach up to 10% of the annual turnover of the platform found guilty, without exceeding 18 million pounds sterling (or nearly 20 million euros). The United Kingdom also emphasizes the responsibility that social networks have with children. ” All platforms will have a duty of vigilance to protect children who use their services », He warns.
For Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or Instagram, the challenge is colossal. Social networks are stepping up measures to regulate content on their platforms, but their efforts are often deemed insufficient by the authorities in many countries. Among the difficulties encountered, we can cite that of the limit between freedom of expression and content deemed “harmful” but legal. If the European Commission is struggling to position itself on this subject, the British government affirms that ” popular platforms will be held accountable for fighting legal and illegal harm “, and ” further steps will be taken to protect freedom of expression “.