The Government has recently announced the new Online Safety Bill. A new bill that protects children online and preventing the sharing of harmful content. This blog will quickly go over what this new bill means and its consequences.
The Online Safety Bill has been in the works for two years now, and focuses on preventing the sharing and posting of harmful content, especially towards children. With social media sites and firms now being obliged to remove any harmful content or face a hefty fine.
Aiming to prevent major online issues and protecting users from numerous different threats and content. Including racism, child abuse, terrorism, hate speech and so much more. Issues that have plagued social media for a long time, and it is amazing to see that efforts are being made to prevent them.
It will also tackle a number of issues relating to online scams. Such as investment scams and romance frauds. But it does not cover email scams, false website scams and advertising scams.
Some concerns have risen over the affect this bill will have. Especially in terms of free speech. As the Online Safety Bill aims to restrict certain content, it is expected that some people may have some problems with it.
But to make sure that free speech remains intact, the new duty of care for social media websites called “democratically important” protects any content that promotes or opposes any content that is related to numerous democratic subjects. Like votes and elections. With context also taken into account with content.
Ofcom are in charge of enforcing the Online Safety Bill, making sure that social media sites follow a number of set-out rules. With large social media companies, like Facebook, having to state exactly what they do to stop the sharing of restricted content in their terms and conditions.
Ofcom have the power to give companies fines of up to £18 million if they fail to follow the set-out conditions, and the power to stop access to social media websites.
The response to this bill has been very mixed, and it is very understandable as to why. Some people believe that the Online Safety Bill will greatly hinder online free speech, whereas others believe that the punishments for failure to prevent bad content is not harsh enough.
But it looks as if online activity through all social media sites is set to become a far safer place for all of those who use it.