Big Brother Watch’s comment on plans for Ofcom to police social media

Big Brother Watch Team / February 12, 2020

Today, the Government published its response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation.

Its plans include imposing a legal ‘duty of care’ on social media companies to protect users from ‘harm’ and giving regulatory responsibility to Ofcom.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said:

“The Government’s proposals are set to be a disaster for freedom of expression and privacy online. The regulation would deputise private companies to police the internet and adjudicate over individuals’ right to freedom of expression. In Germany, similar regulation has pressured companies to conduct zealous censorship and surveillance on their platforms, which has been widely condemned by human rights groups. The proposals reek of mission creep and rather than dealing with only illegal content online are also set to explicitly regulate lawful speech, which is a dangerous direction to go.

“The proposal to give state sponsorship to social media companies’ own terms and conditions is senseless. Platforms’ content policies are incredibly broad and restrict free speech far beyond the limitations set in law. It’s also under those terms that companies like Facebook have license to collect huge amounts of detailed information about billions of users.”