Britain has announced a new law in action that would fine social media organizations upto to 10 percent of turnover which is a huge amount amounting to GBP 18 million. This would be levied if these companies fail to remove online abuses, especially racist hate crimes. In addition, the senior managers of social media companies can also face criminal action under the same law. This law came into force after it was observed that most tech firms neglect online abuse and do almost nothing to remove it.
The British Interior Minister, Priti Patel states “It’s time for tech companies to be held to account and to protect the British people from harm. If they fail to do so, they will face penalties”. She also stated that this bill will strengthen the right to freedom of expression in the United Kingdom.
It is surprising to know that Football clubs and other authorities related to sports have already highlighted this problem last month. These organizations have joined hands in boycotting popular social media platforms.
The new bill will force social media companies to increase their vigilance and promptly remove all sorts of illegal content like hate crimes, threats, harassment, and abuse. It will make sure that a democratic political debate is carried out at all times protecting the journalistic content. The organizations that fail to comply will face heavy fines from the regulator Ofcom that powers the right to block any social media app or website in Britain. Special attention will be given to eliminating the spread of fake news and terrorist material. Other categories include suicide content and child sexual abuse which must be immediately reported to the concerned authorities.
Furthermore, Ofcom has also been empowered to apply criminal charges against senior managers of social media organizations who do not comply with this law and deny information access. On the other hand, this bill also assures reinstating content that does not fall into the above categories and has been unfairly removed and hence strengthening the freedom of expression.