Tories fight back against JAIL web chefs from social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok if they fail to fight harmful content
- Web giants are under attack from MPs, children’s charities and top Tories
- Campaigners will lobby the government to include severe criminal penalties for heads of social media companies in its flagship Online Harms Bill
- MoS may reveal that Labor already plans to join forces with backbench Tory MPs to push changes to Bill, which will be revealed in Queen’s Speech
- Campaigners argue that multi-million pound fines will not be enough to tackle tech giants like Instagram and WhatsApp owners of dangerous messaging, racism and child abuse.
Social media giants will be attacked by MPs, children’s charities and top Tories who want bosses to serve prison terms if they fail to combat harmful content.
Campaigners prepare to lobby the government to include tough criminal penalties for the leaders of companies such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok in its flagship Online Harms Bill.
The Mail on Sunday may reveal that Labor already plans to join forces with backbench Tory MPs to push changes to the bill, which will be revealed at this month’s Queen’s Speech.
Critics argue that the proposed legislation was watered down last year after the internet giants voiced “ concerns. ”
Social media giants will be ferociously attacked by MPs, children’s charities and top Tories who want bosses to serve jail terms if they fail to combat harmful content
Campaigners prepare to lobby the government to include severe criminal penalties for the heads of companies such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok in its flagship Online Harms Bill
The campaigners argue that current plans for multi-million pound fines will not be enough to help tech giants like Facebook – which owns Instagram and WhatsApp – tackle dangerous messaging, racism and child abuse.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) told the MoS it is gearing up to launch a massive move to convince MPs that stricter rules on bosses are vital.
And last night, former Culture Minister, Baroness Nicky Morgan, threw himself behind the campaign, saying it would be ‘mind-focusing’ if bosses were to be held personally responsible for not addressing abuse.
Andy Burrows, policy expert at the NSPCC, said, ‘Unless we see the bill when it gets significantly strengthened in the House of Commons in this area [of bosses being held personally liable for online harms], then we certainly intend to make sure we do everything we can about this.
‘The stakes cannot be higher for children and young people.
‘If the ambition of this bill is curtailed, then there is grooming that we could have prevented.’
Last night, former Culture Secretary, Baroness Nicky Morgan, threw himself behind the campaign, saying it would be ‘mind-focusing’ if the bosses were held personally responsible for not addressing abuse.
Ms. Morgan, who worked on the Online Harms Bill before handing over the handover to current culture secretary Oliver Dowden last year, said: “ If you have senior individuals whose personal liability is at stake – as well as personal reputation – I think that’s the mind. .
A similar regime was introduced in the city after the financial crisis to change the culture, to make the seniors realize that they themselves had real skin at play and personal accountability for decisions made by the companies and by others.
‘People were worried it would be used all the time, and it hasn’t been. What it actually did is either stop problems brewing before they go public, or it has shaped boardroom discussions in a way that we would like to see happen in the tech company’s boardrooms. ‘
Shadow Culture secretary Jo Stevens said, “The government’s decision to water down its bills to stop criminal sanctions will continue to put children at risk. What’s more important here is the safety of children that don’t please the global technology giants. ‘
Campaigners said social media giants are particularly concerned about the measures being proposed in Britain. They said other countries would likely copy UK law.
The government put forward the idea of holding bosses criminally liable in its original plan published in April 2019. But the policy was removed in updated plans last December.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said the government will only introduce criminal sanctions if fines are ineffective. The government has said it has distanced itself from the threat of criminal sanctions over “ industry concerns ” about the policy.
A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said: “Our groundbreaking online safety bill will force online companies to protect their users or face severe penalties, including heavy fines.
“It will include powers to hold senior managers criminally responsible.”
Campaigners said social media giants are particularly concerned about the measures being proposed in Britain. They said other countries would likely copy UK law