Charities and campaigners have been seeking greater regulation for social media platforms from the British government after an apparent influx of harmful and violent content.
Several recent cases have highlighted the impact that social media can have, particularly on children and teenagers, with it creating an avenue for them to access harmful or disturbing content. While these forms of graphic content are against the terms of service of the major social media platforms, they’re still extremely easy to find and access by anyone.
The recent case of Molly Russell linked her death to a wide variety of content on Instagram and her family blames the platform for hosting this type of content, and even promoting it with suggestions based on previous searches thanks to the search algorithm.
The Home Office has suggested an industry regulator be appointed to help make sure that social media firms are doing everything they can to keep certain content away from their platforms.
These new expectations for social media companies will be laid out in a mandatory duty of care and will require the firms to take more responsibility for the safety of their users.
This new regulator will have the power to lay down ‘substantial’ fines or even “impose liability on an individual member of senior management".