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The internet is reaching a “turning point” where tech giants are being held “fully accountable for the content on their platforms”, the Culture Secretary had said.
Nadine Dorries said new internet regulations being introduced in the UK through the Online Safety Bill and by other countries around the world were starting a “new chapter” of accountability for the sector.
The Culture Secretary was speaking at the launch of the Declaration for the Future of the Internet alongside government representatives from the United States and more than 50 other countries, which makes a commitment to protect a free and open internet that fosters competition, privacy and human rights.
Ms Dorries said the UK was doing its part by introducing new rules around online content, with the Online Safety Bill set to place requirements on platforms to protect users from harmful content, with large fines and access to sites being blocked as potential punishments.
The Bill currently making its way through Parliament and would see Ofcom become a new regulator for the sector.
“We’re entering a new chapter where tech companies are held fully accountable for the content on their platforms,” Ms Dorries said.
“That they uphold their own promises to their users to protect people from toxic, racist and misogynistic abuse and protect children from cyberbullying and other harmful behaviour.
“That we make sure the internet is a place where people’s rights to participate in society and engage in robust debate are protected.”
The Culture Secretary added that the UK and others should work together to prevent attempts to challenge the “open and collaborative nature” of the internet, such as government-led censorship.
“As open societies, we should be clear that we will resist attempts to bring the internet under restrictive Government control or to regulate it through concentrated top-down processes,” she said.
“It is only by continuing to work together that we can capitalise on the benefits of a truly global internet that delivers for all.
“Ultimately, we are here as we believe the internet holds enormous potential to benefit our lives.
“But over the coming decade the challenge we face is to fight for those values, something that will require vigilance and proactive collaboration.”