UK could ban or fine social media firms over harmful content

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UK could could ban or fine social media firms in Britain, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter if they fail to remove harmful content quickly under new laws, set to be unveiled on Monday, 8 April, according to media reports.

The new duty of care laws could even hold social media executives personally liable for terrorist and child abuse content on their platforms.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid is considering measures that would block errant firms’ access to UK users, The Telegraph reported on Sunday, 7 April.

The social media firms that fail to sanitise their platforms could be removed from search engines like Google.

Citing a leaked government document, The Guardian reported on Thursday, 4 April, that under the new plans an independent regulator will have the power to impose substantial fines on companies that breached their duty of care.

The decision was made after the live-streaming of the New Zealand terror attack in which 50 people were killed sparked global outrage. The video was viewed over 4,000 times before it was removed. It was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

UK Home Secretary tweeted saying: “Vital discussions at G7 around online terror content especially after horrors of Christchurch. I made clear our upcoming Online Harms White Paper will ensure social media firms take more responsibility. Much more global action needed in this area.”

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