UK aims to regulate social media firms over content removal – The Times

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo from files of Facebook Google and Twitter logos
FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS

December 11, 2020

(Reuters) – The British government will announce plans for a new law next week under which social media companies will have a duty to be impartial and be barred from “arbitrarily” removing comments because they are controversial, The Times newspaper reported.

UK ministers will announce plans on Tuesday for a statutory duty of care, which will be enforced by Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, the newspaper reported, without citing a source.

Firms that fail to meet the obligations may face multimillion-pound fines or be blocked from operating in Britain, according to the report.

The newspaper cited a source as saying that the British government was concerned that social media companies were removing legitimate content on grounds that it was controversial rather than because it was harmful or inaccurate.

A government representative was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)