The Sun: Internet giants to face major clampdown

Internet giants face a major clampdown as Downing Street last night revealed Ministers are looking at classing Facebook and Google media publishers rather than simple platforms.

last night Culture Secretary Karen Bradley demanded the firms face up to the “undeniable suffering” the internet can cause people.

Her slapdown came as she outlined new plans to make kids safer by hitting firms with an industry-wide levy to fund measures to deal with online harm.

And companies will be forced to publish annual transparency reports to prove they doing more to stop trolls and cyberbullies.

The Government hope to kick start tech giants into doing more by exposing “the true scale of risks and harms that users encounter on their platforms.”

But the Chairman of the media regulator Ofcom said she believes it was time for a major shake up of the landscape, bringing the sites in line with other media outlets.

By making wild west social media platforms officially classed as publishers would finally see them regulated and forced to remove dangerous content.

Dame Patricia Hodgson said her body had recently discussed regulation of internet sites, but said the decision lies with Ministers.

Giving evidence to MPs, she said: “My personal view is that they are publishers but that is only my personal view, that is not an Ofcom view.”

And she complained the sites “are not within Ofcom’s responsibility but we feel very strongly about the integrity of news in this country and we are totally supportive of steps that should and need to be taken to improve matters.”

Asked if the PM agreed, last night Mrs May’s official spokesman said: “We are looking at the role companies like Google and Facebook play in the digital environment.”

He went on: “As part of the Digital Charter, we will look carefully at the roles, responsibility, and legal status of the major internet platforms.”

The clampdown comes as the UK Safer Internet Centre that found 64 per cent of 13-17-year-olds have seen people posting offensive images or videos on such sites.

Boss David Wright said: “As the national centre dedicated to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online, the UK Safer Internet Centre welcomes any piece of work that helps deliver this objective.

“Technology plays a fundamental role in everyone’s lives presenting both opportunities and threats.”
Last night the NSPCC said: “Keeping young people safe online is the biggest child protection issue of our generation.”

A spokesman added: “Social media companies are marking their own homework when it comes to keeping children safe, so a code of practice is definitely a step in the right direction but ‘how’ it is implemented will be crucial.”

The Sun 

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