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Internet: Freedom of Expression

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 49060, tabled on 14 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to protect free speech in online spaces.

Answered on

22 September 2021

The upcoming Online Safety Bill will protect freedom of expression online. The largest and riskiest companies, Category 1 services, will no longer be able to remove arbitrarily harmful content. They will need to be clear about what content is acceptable on their services and enforce these rules consistently. Users will have access to effective mechanisms to appeal content that is removed without good reason.

Category 1 services will need to assess their impact on freedom of expression and demonstrate the steps they have taken to mitigate this. They will also have additional duties to protect democratic and journalistic content online.

The government is also taking steps to boost competition in digital markets through the new pro-competition regime for digital markets. This has the potential to support greater choice and plurality in digital services.