UK Government to Clamp Down on Harmful Content

The UK Government has proposed the creation of an independent watchdog that will write up a code of practice to help technology companies prevent “online harms”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wants to stop content that promotes illegal activity, such as terrorism, child pornography and revenge pornography, from being easily accessible online.

The watchdog would monitor activity on social media platforms and have the ability to fine organisations, and even senior executives, that breach regulations. It would also have the power to block the offending services on certain internet service providers.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright explained to the BBC: “The era of self-regulation for online companies is over. Voluntary actions from industry to tackle online harms have not been applied consistently or gone far enough.”

If the suggested changes are put in place, then companies would be held accountable for content generated by users. Last month, Grindr survived a harassment lawsuit because it was protected from such content.

Critics of the proposals claim the consistent monitoring would threaten freedom of speech.

Wright has previously called on dating apps to enforce stronger age verification processes to stop children from being exposed to potential sexual abuse.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also put forward new rules and said he wanted governments and regulators given more active roles for moderation.

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