Ofcom will now become the UK’s first online harms regulator charged with holding social media companies to account.
Ofcom is already introducing new regulations that broadband and TV customers must be told at least 10 days before their contract is coming to an end, and shown the best deals available every year. Customers will start receiving the notifications from 15 February next year.
Now the regulator will also have a key role in enforcing a statutory duty of care to protect users from harmful and illegal terrorist and child abuse content.
NEWS: Digital Secretary @NickyMorgan01 and Home Secretary Priti Patel @patel4witham recommend @Ofcom as the regulator to enforce rules to make the internet a safer place.— DCMS (@DCMS) February 12, 2020
Read in full:https://t.co/rb8Uxmm38N pic.twitter.com/RLu6qqkY8T
However, the chair elect of the parliamentary DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight said the statement failed to demonstrate the urgency that is required.
“The regulator must take a muscular approach and be able to enforce change through sanctions that bite. That means more than a hefty fine – it means having the clout to disrupt the activities of businesses that fail to comply, and ultimately, the threat of a prison sentence for breaking the law.”
The move was welcomed by charities, who say they hope that powers over the likes of Facebook and YouTube will result in a ‘global standard’.