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U.K. gets tough on social media firms

Neil Hodge | April 9, 2019

Social media companies and tech firms will be legally required to protect users and will face tough penalties if they do not comply under proposed legislation from the U.K. government.

Possible punitive measures include substantial fines, blocking users’ access to sites if firms fail to act swiftly to complaints about content, and potentially making individual senior managers directly liable for non-compliance.

In a joint proposal from the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), companies including Facebook, Twitter, and Google will be subject to a new statutory “duty of care” to make them take more responsibility for the safety of their users and tackle harm caused by content or activity on their services.

There will also be further stringent requirements on tech companies to ensure child abuse and terrorist content is not disseminated online, and to respond to and address users’ complaints quickly.

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