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UK Government Proposes New Regulations on Facebook and Google

UK Government to Propose New Regulations on Facebook and Google

In a quick move today, UK government released a proposal that will impose penalties on social media companies and technology firms like Facebook and Google if they fail to protect users from harmful content.

As per the UK’s secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the secretary of state for the Home Department, “More decisive action is needed, noting the spread of terrorist content and other growing problems online. There is currently a range of regulatory and voluntary initiatives aimed at addressing these problems, but these have not gone far or fast enough, or been consistent enough between different companies, to keep UK users safe online.”

The instant access to harmful content, basically among the youngsters, has raised a global concern. However, British government proposed this law after the death of 14-year-old schoolgirl Molly Russell, which her parents said came after she had viewed online material on depression and suicide.

Governments across the globe are battling on how to better control content on the social media networks, which has been blamed for number of reasons such as encouraging racism and abuse, spreading online pornography, influencing voters, etc. in the past . But, the recent live streaming of mass shooting at the mosque in New Zealand, raised many questions behind the use of these platforms, especially for children.

In a policy paper widely trailed in British media, the government said that they will impose new rules on Google and Facebook companies, requiring them to more closely monitor content and provide more information to regulators. Not just this, with new laws into effect, companies would have to take reasonable action on user complaints as quickly as possible, failing to do which might impose a heavy fine.

As per TechUK, “The paper was a significant step forward, but one which needed to be firmed up during its 12-week consultation. Some aspects of the government’s approach were too vague. It is vital that the new framework is effective, proportionate and predictable”

Replying to TechUK, Facebook representative said, “We are looking forward to working with the government to ensure new regulations were effective, however regulations need to have a standard approach across platforms.”

The new law proposed by the UK government is the latest advancement in Europe’s plan to more closely regulate tech giants. Though it’s still unclear how the proposal will be implemented, but it looks like Parliament is eager to bring this new regulation in action. As per the sources, Member of Parliament Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, stated, “There is an urgent need for this new regulatory body to be established as soon as possible.”

In the United States, plans to regulate the tech industry at the federal level have so far stagnated, often held up by existing laws that protect platforms from liability for the content they host. However, on the other hand, Europe has passed regulations like the GDPR, one of the strictest moves taken yet to regulate personal data on the internet.


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