Ofcom, the UK’s media watchdog, is aggressively recruiting talent from major Big Tech companies as it readies itself to enforce one of the world’s most rigorous regulatory frameworks for the internet. The move comes in response to the Online Safety Act, which became law in the UK last October, granting Ofcom expansive new powers to oversee major global corporations and hundreds of thousands of smaller websites and apps.
The regulatory body has assembled a dedicated team of nearly 350 professionals focused on addressing online safety concerns, with key personnel being drawn from senior positions at tech giants Meta, Microsoft, and Google. Ofcom has further announced its intention to hire an additional 100 experts in the coming year to bolster its ranks.
The Online Safety Act empowers Ofcom to hold online platforms accountable for hosting illegal materials, including but not limited to child sexual abuse and terrorist content. The legislation also assigns the regulatory body broader responsibilities to ensure the protection of children in the online space.
Melanie Dawes, the Chief Executive of Ofcom, expressed the urgency of the situation, stating, “The expectations are very high, but it’s as quick as I’ve ever seen a regulator act. Nothing is ever fast enough.” The rapid recruitment from major tech players underscores the critical need for a robust and swift response to the challenges posed by online content.
Ofcom’s move to assemble a specialized team reflects the gravity of the task at hand as the regulator takes on the responsibility of enforcing the stringent provisions of the Online Safety Act. The proactive approach in recruiting talent from the industry leaders is indicative of the regulator’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve in addressing the evolving landscape of online safety concerns.