The UK government has been working on a bill that would grant Ofcom, the government telecommunications agency, the possibility of fineing large social networks. The objective of this legislation is to force social networks based in the United Kingdom to respond to harmful content that is disseminated on their platforms.
Ofcom may issue fines of up to 5% of the profits of a social network.
Specifically, Ofcom’s work would revolve around monitoring social networks specially designed to share videos and direct, such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Its intention is to monitor the behavior of social networks to ensure that they are handling the elimination of harmful content effectively.
This regulation is mainly aimed at protecting minors in social networks. This is due to the fact that previously these have been exposed in a massive way to harmful content, as happened in the case of the shooting in Christchurch or with the offensive contents disseminated in YouTube Kids.
For this reason, the United Kingdom has granted Ofcom the power to penalize large technology companies when they do not use parental control and age verification mechanisms to ensure that minors are not exposed to videos that “harm their physical, mental or moral development. ».
The bill, which was already approved by the British parliament before the summer holidays, would grant Ofcom the power to issue fines of up to 5% of the profits of a social network. In addition, in the event that technology companies do not decide to apply the measures established by the agency, they may be blocked in the United Kingdom, preventing users from accessing the country.
The creation of this law and the takeover of Ofcom as a regulatory body are only a transitional step until the United Kingdom articulates its own regulator in online matters. However, if the project finally becomes law, the agency will take possession of these powers from September 19, 2020.
For the moment, the new law will take into account the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, established by the European Union. However, as soon as an outcome is reached for Brexit, it is possible that the United Kingdom decides to restructure its approach to social media regulation.