Prime Minister Theresa May said in a video posted online on Monday that new legislation will be proposed to the parliament to enable the government to impose bans and fines on social media companies and technology firms if they fail to protect users from harmful content, Presstv Reported.
“The era of social media firms regulating themselves is over,” said May, adding, “We are putting a legal duty of care on these companies to keep users safe; and if they fail to do so, tough punishments will be imposed.”
If ratified, the new laws could slap big fines on social media companies. An independent regulator will be able to even held bosses of the tech companies accountable and even decide to end their operations in the UK if they do not everything reasonably practical to eradicate harmful content.
The regulations, described by Media Secretary Jeremy Wright as the toughest in the world, would apply to social media sites, discussion forums, messaging services and search engines. Wright said any company that allowed users to share or discover content or interact online would be subject to the new laws.
The new proposal comes after the death of 14-year-old schoolgirl in Britain whose family said had been caused by harmful content online on depression and suicide.
It also comes amid increased global worries about the way the social media operate, especially after a mass shooting in two mosques in New Zealand in March, which killed 50 people, was steamed live on one of the platforms of American social media giant Facebook.