Regulation

UK To Put Stricter Policies In Place To Make Social Media Safer

The U.K. is introducing new laws to make social media safer.

According to Reuters, British lawmakers want to tackle “the Wild West elements” on the internet — from cyberbullying to online child exploitation.

A consultation has been launched that would look into measures that could ensure the safety of citizens using the internet. Digital Minister Matt Hancock said the government would then publish a white paper later this year before working to bring in new laws “in the next couple of years.”

While the government has wanted improved regulation of social media companies, it has been preoccupied with the nation’s departure from the European Union.

“At the same time, I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the Internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation. We strongly support technology companies to start up and grow, and we want to work with them to keep our citizens safe,” said Hancock.

The announcement comes after it was revealed that up to 87 million Facebook users may have had their data shared with controversial U.K. political firm Cambridge Analytica. The company, which recently shut down, is also being investigated by the National Crime Agency of Britain, which is looking into allegations including whether Cambridge Analytica employees tried to bribe foreign officials, destroyed evidence, hacked computers and violated Britain’s Data Protection Act.

Specifics about the potential regulation weren’t revealed, but Hancock told the BBC that as part of the data protection bill, firms could be fined up to 4 percent of their global turnover.

In addition, Hancock said in a statement that the ministry for digital, culture, media and sport and the interior ministry would also work with regulators, platforms and advertising companies to settle on legislation that tackles “both legal and illegal harms.”

“I don’t want the trolls to win,” Hancock said.

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