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Internet: Hate Crime

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 15322, tabled on 14 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to tackle online homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Answered on

17 June 2021

The government is committed to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, including the spread of such content online. On 12 May 2021, we published the draft Online Safety Bill, which sets out new expectations on companies to keep their users safe online. Under a new legal duty of care, in-scope companies, including social media, will need to tackle misogynistic, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic content and activity that is illegal, if it is on their services.

In addition, companies with the largest audiences and with high-risk features will need to assess the risk to adults of legal but harmful content on their services. They must also set clear terms and conditions stating what legal but harmful material they accept (and do not accept) on their service. Companies will have to do this for both priority harms which the government will set out in secondary legislation and for any emerging harms they identify in their risk assessments.

These duties will apply to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate speech, which do not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. Companies will need to enforce their terms and conditions consistently and transparently, and could face enforcement action if they do not. All companies in scope will be required to have effective and accessible user reporting and redress mechanisms.