Ofcom is set to be handed new powers to regulate social media companies and protect users from harmful content, the government has announced.
The UK’s broadcast watchdog will have its remit expanded to enforce a legal “duty of care” from firms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
It will be tasked with ensuring the platforms protect people from harmful, illegal terrorist, and child abuse content by removing it quickly and minimising the risk of it appearing. But there has been no confirmation of what punishments or fines the bolstered regulator will be able to hand out.
Digital Secretary Baroness Morgan said, “We will give the regulator the powers it needs to lead the fight for an internet that remains vibrant and open but with the protections, accountability and transparency people deserve.”
She added the measures would only apply to websites that allow sharing of user-generated content – for example, through comments, forums, or videos – meaning fewer than 5% of all UK businesses will be affected.
YouTube reacted by stating the news was of “great importance” and promised to “work in partnership with the government and Ofcom to ensure a free, open and safer internet that works for everyone,” reported The Guardian.
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