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Big Tech needs online safety regulation – but laws must not overreach

online safety big tech

There’s little doubt that Big Tech companies can and should do more to protect their users from harmful content online.

With rapid membership growth in the pandemic, the tech industry is broadly in agreement that regulation now needs to catch up and ensure that social media platforms bear greater responsibility for ensuring a safer online environment for this larger – and often, younger – user base.

The original purpose of the Online Safety Bill – the legislative answer to the three-year-old Online Harms White Paper facing its second reading in the House of Lords – was to do just that.

However, concern at the wide powers granted to the culture secretary, as well as confusion around holding directors accountable for breaches of duty of care and the removal of responsibility for ‘legal but harmful’ content, have further delayed the bill’s arduous journey through Parliament....