The Online Harms White Paper: Duty of care in the context of online harms

By Bryony Hurst


In a further instalment of our mini-series on the Online Harms White Paper ("OHWP"), Bryony Hurst examines some of the potential implications of the introduction of the concept of a duty of care in relation to online harms.

Is the concept of ‘duty of care’ a novel one?

The concept of a duty of care is well known in the offline world. So an occupier of property owes a duty of care to its visitors in relation to their safety. However the duty is limited to physical injury, and the law rarely imposes a duty to prevent one visitor injuring another. In the UK online platforms have occasionally had to defend allegations of breach of a safety-related duty of care framed in negligence. Thus some cases have been brought in Northern Ireland against Facebook by minors alleging, among other things, a failure to have more checks on accounts created by children and failures to adequately monitor and remove sexualised/indecent content relating to or created by the child. None of these has produced a court judgment.

Read the full article on MediaWrites.