Social media and video services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok risk heavy fines in the UK if they fail to properly control the spread of malicious content. This is stated in rules that must be laid down in law in 2021.
The companies can be fined for violations of 18 million pounds (19.9 million euros) or up to 10 percent of their turnover, depending on which amount is higher.
For example, the British government wants images of child abuse and terrorism to be removed, but also that children are protected against grooming (digital tricks), online bullying and pornography.
“We are entering a new era in which tech companies will be given a responsibility to protect children and vulnerable users,” said Oliver Dowden, the UK’s Digital Secretary.
“These measures provide the strictest and most comprehensive online security regime, and will have a clear direct effect,” Dowden believes.
Social media should also clearly describe their policies for material that is not illegal but may cause harm, such as false information about COVID-19.
The rules will be supervised by the British media watchdog Ofcom, which can impose the fines and black out social media in the UK for violations.