Up to 10% fines for Social Media giants; UK moves new law

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Global tech giants Facebook, Twitter and TikTok could be fined up to 10 percent of their turnover if they do not comply with the new UK law mandating removal and limiting the spread of illegal content.

The platform will also have to ensure that children on the services are protected from being exposed to grooming, bullying and pornography to keep them safe online.

Speaking about the new regulation moved this week, Mr. Oliver Dowden, Britain’s Digital Secretary stated that “we are entering a new age of accountability for tech to protect children and vulnerable users, to restore trust in this industry, and to enshrine in law safeguards for free speech.”

The newly introduced regulations which will formally become part of the legislation next year could lead to the blocking of portals that break the rules and senior managers being held liable for the content uploaded.

Leading social media platforms will be required to have clear policies for content that could cause harm such as disseminating misinformation about COVID vaccines.

Mr. Dowden observed that the new framework would give large digital businesses “robust rules” to follow.

State media regulator Office of Communications (Ofcom) will be given the authority to fine companies up to $24 million or 10% of global turnover, whichever is higher, for breaking the rules. The regulator will also be empowered to block non-compliant services from being accessed in Britain.

Online journalism and reader comments on news publishers’ websites are said to be exempted from these new rules as part of an effort to entertain freedom of expression.

State regulators across the globe have been toiling over measures to better control illegal or dangerous content on social media, with the European Union (EU) expected to reveal its own set of regulations this week.

Industry stalwarts Facebook and Google said that they will work with the government on the newly introduced regulations. While several others have already made changes to their policies and operations to better tackle the issue.