The United Kingdom said on Wednesday that a planned new law will enable social media companies to impose a fine of up to 10% or 18 million pounds (about 187 thousand) on their turnover if they fail to eliminate online abuses such as racial discrimination and hate crimes. Ten thousand rupees), and senior management can also face criminal proceedings.

The government said the Online Security Act also seeks to strengthen the right to freedom of speech and ensure that democratic political debates and news content are protected.

Home Affairs Minister Priti Patel said: “It’s time to be accountable to technology companies and protect the British people from harm. If they don’t, they will face penalties.”

Technology companies are accused of doing too little to address online abuse, and football clubs and other sports departments boycotted the world’s largest social media platform last month to highlight this growing problem.

The bill will take responsibility for social media companies and websites to ensure that they act quickly to eliminate illegal content such as hate crimes, harassment and threats against individuals, including abuse below the criminal threshold.

There is also a need to eliminate and limit the spread of terrorist materials, suicide content and sexual abuse of children, and they need to report to the authorities.

Companies that fail to do so will face huge fines from the regulator Ofcom, which may also prevent access to their websites.

The government said: “The draft bill retains Ofcom’s reserve power to initiate criminal proceedings against senior managers who designate information that does not meet Ofcom’s requirements,” the government said. “If technology companies cannot perform their new duties, these measures will be adopted.”

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The proposed law will also require companies to maintain freedom of speech and restore unfair deletion of materials.

The government added that this will also prohibit technology companies from discriminating against certain political opinions, and Ofcom will require them to be held responsible for the arbitrary removal of news content.

Thomson Reuters 2021 ©

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