Facebook and Google to be fined for harmful content, Margot James says – Business Insider

Facebook and Google to be fined for harmful content, Margot James says – Business Insider

The British government plans to hit social-media firms with fines potentially worth billions of dollars if they fail to rid their platforms of content considered harmful. In an interview with Business Insider, the UK's digital minister, Margot James, said a new independent tech regulator would be given powers to punish companies, including Facebook and Google, found not to properly protect users. The plans are set to be detailed in full in a policy paper on internet safety next month, but James gave Business Insider some insight into the government's thinking on how the new sanctions regime could work. It comes as lawmakers across the world are drawing up new rules to bring the biggest tech giants to heel. UK ministers are planning to establish a powerful new tech regulator meant to be independent of government. It will make determinations about what constitutes harmful content and dish out penalties for firms that fail to take swift action in removing inappropriate posts. James said the government would develop a sanctions regime "that is not too dissimilar from the powers that the ICO already has." Under Europe's new GDPR privacy laws, the Information Commissioner's Office has the ability to level fines of up ....

Jake Kanter/Business Insider "There will be a powerful sanction regime and it's inconceivable that it won't include financial penalties, " James said. "And they will have to be of a size to act as a deterrent. If you look at the ICO's fining powers, that might be a useful guide to what we're thinking about." It is the most specific the government has been about how a fines regime on harmful content might work for social networks and tech companies. It is not just financial penalties that are under consideration. The government has also suggested that tech executives could face criminal sanctions if they fail to get a grip on their platforms. "We will consider all possible options for penalties, " Jeremy Wright, the UK's culture secretary, told the BBC earlier this month. The definition of harmful content is pretty wide-ranging James said the government was taking a "holistic" view of what represented harmful content. .

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