UK’s Online Safety Bill Promises Big Fines for Sexist and Racist Content

Recent changes to the UK’s online safety bill will levy significant fines on social media platforms if they fail to deliver on promises to block sexist and racist content. These sites must also give users the option to avoid this offensive content, even if the content is technically ‘legal’. 

Social media sites caught in violation of these new rules could face a fine of up to 10% of the company’s global turnover. This punishment will be carried out by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator.

Previous iterations of the bill faced criticism by Conservative MPs as it was seen to be protecting “hurt feelings”, the Guardian reports. New changes now encourage websites to enforce their code of conduct when it promises to prohibit certain inappropriate content.

Sites must give users the ability to avoid offensive content including discriminatory language based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

“I will bring a strengthened online safety bill back to parliament, which will allow parents to see and act on the dangers sites pose to young people. It is also freed from any threat that tech firms or future governments could use the laws as a licence to censor legitimate views”, said Michelle Donelan, the UK’s culture secretary. 

The bill will return to parliament on the 5th of December.