Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Set to Face Heavy Fines in the UK Over Harmful Content: Report


Social networking giants Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are set to face heavy fines in Britain for failing to filter out harmful content on their platforms, the media reported.

As part of the government’s plan, Britain’s broadcasting watchdog Ofcom would be given new legal powers to monitor, investigate and fine social platforms for sharing or live-streaming “harmful” videos, including pornography, violence, and child abuse, the Telegraph reported on Sunday.

With the new powers, the broadcast watchdog of the UK would be able to issue fines of 250,000 pounds (around $300,000) or an amount worth up to five per cent of the company’s revenue, if the sites fail to establish strict age verification checks and parental controls to safeguard kids from exposure to harmful videos.

If the tech giants fail to comply with enforcement measures, the Ofcom would have the authority to “suspend” or “restrict” the tech giants’ services in the UK, The Sun reported on Monday, citing the Telegraph.

Reports about this new crackdown is seen as an interim measure and comes ahead of the UK government’s White Paper plans for a statutory duty of care to combat online harms, the report said.

Over the last couple of years, several cases of teen suicides, supposedly encouraged by provocative content or trolling on social networking platforms have come to light.

Earlier this year, Facebook also received heavy backlash after video of the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosque in New Zealand was live-streamed.

Using “appropriate information gathering” powers, regulator Ofcom may order sites like Facebook or YouTube to hand over data or algorithms which many say drive content to vulnerable children, the report added.

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