The Government has today published the first draft of the Online Safety Bill.
The draft bill sets out a regime for some social media platforms to be regulated by OfCom. Newspaper-operated social media platforms will be exempt from the new regime.
Hacked Off has publicised examples of anti-Semitic and racist abuse in newspaper comment sections, which will be exempt from the new regulatory regime under the Government’s proposals.
Commenting, Hacked Off Policy Director Nathan Sparkes said,
“We were promised a world-leading regulatory regime to protect the public from online harms, but the Government has failed to deliver. In providing an exemption to newspaper-operated social media platforms, without any reasonable justification, the Government would create safe havens for those responsible for racism, hate and abuse online.
“Racism and anti-Semitism already flourish on these platforms, with the public regularly exposed to hateful and abusive posts under online newspaper stories read by millions. The Government’s decision to shelter these popular parts of the internet from all meaningful accountability will embolden racists and extremists to continue their spread of extremism and abuse.”
Anti-Semitism in comments on The Sun website:
Anti-East Asian racism in press comment sections: