The recently published Online Harms White Paper has proposed a new regulatory framework to tackle illegal and harmful online content, establishing a statutory duty of care for companies who fall within scope. Whilst many large social media platforms fit squarely into the criteria of the proposal, start-ups, SMEs and charities may also be caught, and there is currently ambiguity for many companies in this sector.
Many social media platforms have recently been the subject of public scrutiny for harmful content such as terrorism, bullying and disinformation disseminated by individuals using their services. Whilst these companies rely broadly on self-governance to regulate inappropriate and dangerous content on their platforms, the introduction of a new regulatory framework could create more stringent content monitoring obligations in the future.
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