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Social Media: Bullying and Defamation

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 121929, tabled on 9 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to ensure that social media companies remove content that (a) bullies and (b) defames people on their platforms in a timely manner.

Answered on

22 February 2022

The Government published the draft Online Safety Bill in May 2021, which places new legal duties on tech companies, including social media platforms, to protect their users.

All companies in scope will need to tackle illegal abuse by making sure it is taken down quickly when they are aware of it and by using systems and processes to minimise the risk of similar material appearing. Services which are likely to be accessed by children will need to provide safety measures for child users, including from cyberbullying. Major platforms will also need to address legal but harmful content for adults. Ofcom as the regulator will be able to take enforcement action, including large fines, against companies who do not comply with their duties.

The draft Bill has been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee which reported its recommendations on 14 December. We are considering the Committee’s recommendations and are committed to introducing the Bill shortly.

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