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UK unveils plans to hold social media bosses liable for harmful content

32 Comments
By Kirill Kudryavtsev

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32 Comments
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It's similar to one introduced by Singapore against media, including online companies such as FACEBOOK.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

UK will soon be like the old East Germany with the STASI monitoring everything. This can also include comments and discussion. They also want to regulate false or fake news, not reported here, but who will decide what is fake or not, esp. if the government just does not like it or agree with it. An independent regulator - paid by and beholden to whom? Knighthoods and peerages who everyone who does what they are told. A dangerous path to go down...

3 ( +14 / -11 )

So if I live stream a Saudi bombing of civilians in Yemen, will it be banned?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The U.K. has once again disappointed the world. Shame on her.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

I'm curious, what will they consider "publishable"...

I'm all for banning certain propaganda that instigates or could instigate violence, but what constitutes "fake" from parody? Couldn't the original poster claim a fake article to be parody? Likewise, parody consider fake news by the admin? Seems like Trump's administration doesn't take kindly to parody, will be interesting to see how they respond to the UK's move to censor...

As far as children gaining access to inappropriate content online, that's the result of poor/lazy parenting...

13 ( +17 / -4 )

UK will soon be like the old East Germany with the STASI monitoring everything.

I see someone didn't read the article - maybe just the headline?  Requiring online service providers to self-monitor and have fact-checkers seems quite reasonable to me, given the stuff that is out there these days.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

Not entirely unreasonable - just a stern nudge to tighten up I suppose the standards will be as in that famous old quote, "I know pornography when I see it."

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Thin end of the wedge.  Sure there is lots of deranged and awful stuff on various websites, but that is a function of the people;e posting those and they should be pursued.  Making FB and similar responsible is going to require huge amounts of additional resource both from them and the State.  Not that Zuck and his ilk couldn't afford to give back some of their ridiculous profits.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

aim to tackle all kinds of harmful content from encouraging violence and suicide to spreading disinformation and cyber bullying.

cyber bullying I can understand.

aim to tackle all kinds of harmful content from encouraging violence and suicide to spreading disinformation

But why aren't Hollywood, the BBC or even the British government held to the same rules?

2 ( +10 / -8 )

The internet is driving too many people nuts anyway, just turn it off.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

A very poor and disturbing decision by the UK, similar to what has come out of Australia and New Zealand in recent weeks. How on Earth do you propose FB and YT to monitor every single piece of content? Algorithms can only go so far as people are creative when reporting this sort of content once it has been banned once. Also, what are the time periods for these companies to remove content? Should FB hire 1 million additional employees and put them into the red to check every piece of content that gets reported?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

By this logic we can hold the government responsible for things that people say at Speaker's Corner.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I would say that the English tabloids are a lot more harmful than Facebook.

Headlines such as: "Muslims tell British: go to hell!", ''Immigration: enough is enough!", "Romanians are destroying British culture!", "Migrant invasion!", "Immigrants bring more crime!" etc. are a lot more likely to incite violence than anything you can find on Facebook.

The press standards in England are so low, that passes as news in England would be considered sci-fiction in France, and will most certainly not even be allowed on the streets. For those of you who think nobody reads that yellow junk, well, you're wrong, in England, the largest "newspapers" by daily circulation are all yellow tabloids like DailyMail, the Sun, Metro, Daily Express etc.

Google "English tabloids" and take a look at what im talking about.

England, much like Japan, tries their best to put up a nice facade to the rest of the world, but the reality is quite different. I have seen a lot of Americans being completely shocked after seeing a newspaper booth in England, and then their English "friend" trying to quickly make up excuses for it -- "oh, no-no-no this is nothing, ok, nobody reads this, let's go look at that big watch again".

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I understand the feelings behind all this, but at the same time its clearly IDIOTIC!!

Below is what I wrote the same kind of ""thinking"" after what happened in Christchurch

Some of the initiatives in this blurb are seeming to go in a real WRONG direction, sounds potentially very ANTI-free speech!

Look I don't like racists, or white supremist types one bit, but we need to be very careful what is being banned & targeting only supposed WHITE related speech, scary stuff!

I WANT to be able to read what people think, EVEN stuff I DO NOT LIKE OR AGREE WITH!!!

I am NOT a fan of a lot of SNS stuff, but holding them to bizarre, insane standards isn't going to help, it WILL lead down to the road of us BEING CONTROLLED even more than we are today.

This is the kind of thinking we see in China, Russia, Singapore, does the west really want to go down that road...…...I sure as hell DONT!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@IloveCoffee

England

Are you confusing England with the UK again, or is this tabloid culture limited to England?

I have seen a lot of Americans being completely shocked after seeing a newspaper booth in England

Are you sure you’ve seen this situation lots of times? I lived in the UK until I was 24 and didn’t see it once.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Jimizo

I am talking about England only, Scotland and Wales are different.

I lived in the UK until I was 24 and didn’t see it once.

Yes, and i know a lot of foreigners who have lived in Japan for over 20 years and "have never experienced racism. Dunno what you're all talking about". Sounds familiar.

It really depends on your circumstances, and on whether or not you want to see what's behind the mask. We see what we know, and some people don't know much.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I am talking about England only, Scotland and Wales are different.

The Sun, the Star, the Mail and the Express are on sale in Wales and Scotland. What’s the difference? I’m intrigued. Also, I don’t read this trash but these papers have a right to express their opinions.

Of course the UK has its racists and bigots like any country, but did you honestly see lots of Americans being shocked at what they found at UK newspaper stalls? I never saw it once. Were you hanging around these stalls?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I have seen a lot of Americans being completely shocked after seeing a newspaper booth in England

Really? My American friends in the UK just used to laugh at the redtops' nonsense, and they all loved Viz Comic. The only thing they were shocked by was the poor quality of UK sportswriting compared to American.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Like the courts don’t already have enough on their hands to now have to filter through endless complaints and law suits. As said above, when are families and communities going to carry their weight in society?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

UK has come a long way since George Orwell.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Parents need to take full responsibility for there children's internet and social media activity. It is frankly remarkable the level of ignorance some household have to even the basic technology.

This Conservative Government, are guilty of cynical political misdirection, portraying supposed well intentioned laws to “protect users, especially children and young people, from harmful content” to subvert media attention away from policy failings, and betrayals of trust in government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nonsense. Are the CEOs meant to personally monitor every user?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We all have the choice to join Facebook, Twitter etc etc

The majority process the intelligence to determine what propaganda is harmful or not.

The proposed legislative structure and the means to fashion laws are beyond UK or any judicial system to democratically guarantee would not lead to authoritarian control of the basic freedoms of speech.

To allow government or the state authority to decide if content is arbitrarily oppressive, hateful or fake is inherently dangerous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What I don't like is that you can literally be successful enough to no longer be responsible for your own company. How can we possibly monitor a billion users??? But if you have a small website then you are suddenly responsible for everything.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Jimizo

We can only speculate. My guess is that they sell in England because they tell people what they wanna hear. Scottish and Welsh people don't identify themselves with the British Empire to that extend, wheres for the average English, that's a core part of his identity. He needs to hear that England is great and better than others, and that's what the tabloids do, and that doesn't resonate with the Scottish. Another factor could be that England being over 60 million people have a larger uneducated, illiterate underclass who are more prone to being manipulated, wheres Scotland is just 5 million people.

I am in favor of free speech, but i also think there is a difference between having a different opinion, and maliciously deceiving people. Those headlines are nothing but malicious deception. Just last month, Eurostat made a survey in Germany, and a big percentage of Germans have said that they want Germany to take a taught stance in the negotiations with Brexit, the next day, the tabloid's headlines were: Germans hate England. That's just malicious deception, pure and simple. If you aren't allowed to scream fire in a cinema, or openly call for violence, i think you should also not be allowed to maliciously deceive people like that.

I have seen couple of them, yes. I can't remember what event it was but i watched early this year i think MSNBC reporters in England talking to an English politician (i think), and the American reporter said that he was shocked at how extreme the newspapers were, and the English guy tried to laugh it off saying English newspapers are competitive, and they are trying to attract attention and stuff like that. A Japanese version of this conversation would be a foreigner saying he is constantly rejected by landlords and his Japanese friend saying - oh that's because the landlord isn't confident in his english skills and he doesn't wanna be rude and that's why he is rejecting you. Total BS.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It seems like the people who are coming up with these laws are the same ones who have to ask their grandchildren how to use the microwave.

"How hard is it to watch all of Facebook's livestreams at the same time? How many could they have?"

As long as they take action as soon as they are made aware of the content, which they did with the NZ shooter, I can accept that. Like it or not, this is the information age. It's all out there for anyone to see. It seems the UK wants to go backwards.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Another factor could be that England being over 60 million people have a larger uneducated, illiterate underclass who are more prone to being manipulated, wheres Scotland is just 5 million people.

I can assure you that here in Scotland the proportion of morons is no different from England. If in doubt, go to a football match.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The more power the people give to their government the more likely they are to abuse them with it. How many times does one have to see a tech giant CEO lie about their privacy protections or a government official fail to secure the personal data they force you to provide to them before people realize that they cannot be trusted?

Who gets to determine what speech is harmful? Is it the people who have an opposing political view from your own? It is shocking to see Western countries follow in the footsteps of the Chinese surveillance state. Personal privacy is already on a slippery slope to non-existence. Free speech appears to be next on Big Brothers hit list.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The old saying "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." seems to be something a lot of people have forgotten.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If a journalist writes a an article full of lies and dangerous suggestions the newspapaer that publishes it would be liable. Why should those who run social media sites be exempt from liability? They allow users to post lies, threats, abuse and harmful images but do little to nothing about it. Twitter is a cesspit of lies and threats - often no one is censured or banned for these posts.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why should those who run social media sites be exempt from liability? They allow users to post lies, threats, abuse and harmful images but do little to nothing about it. Twitter is a cesspit of lies and threats - often no one is censured or banned for these posts.

Because social media sites were not created to be news sites, hence the word 'social' in the name... If you choose to believe everything that you read on Twitter, that is your mistake.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the US, you have to be 13 to have a social network account, legally.

The laws need to take into count the actual reach of an account and the size of the company hosting it.

Should Mr. Z be held to the same level of accountability over distasteful speech that is seen by 50 people as distasteful speech seen by 500,000 people?

Should a tiny company with 500 users be held accountable to the same level as Facebook with 6B users?

Isn't there an idea of proportionality in UK laws? I though Brits understood satire too. Or will this law be just like the pornography laws elsewhere - I can't explain what it is, but I know it when I see it. That is an law which will be abused.

Laws like this will de-democracize much of the social internet a put all the power back into larger "New" organizations who can pay to have fact checkers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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