The Culture Secretary has announced today that social media companies will have a duty of care to users under new legislation, and that “criminal antisemitic posts will need to be removed without delay”.
Oliver Dowden made the announcement in an article for The Telegraph, in which he pledged to crack down on other online vices, such as terrorism, child sexual abuse, self-harm, cyber-bullying and indecent material.
Social media companies that fail their duty of care will face gargantuan fines of up to ten percent of their global turnover, and Parliament will reserve the right to introduce criminal sanctions for executives if these measures do not bring about change.
Campaign Against Antisemitism launched a petition in August, in the aftermath of the Wiley episode, calling for new legislation urgently to introduce a requirement for technology companies to remove racist incitement within set timeframes, a duty of care for social networks with personal liability for executives, and tighter requirements to provide evidence to police under warrant.
The petition can be signed here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/333146/
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This is a big victory for those of us in the Jewish community who have urged the Government to compel social media companies to take responsibility for criminal content and racist incitement on their platforms. We are pleased that the Culture Secretary has taken these concerns on board and is proceeding with new laws to prevent criminals from operating online. Without this campaign by us and our allies, this announcement may not have come about, and we are grateful to all the other organisations, celebrities and activists who have pushed for this alongside us.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism continues its robust engagement with social media companies over the content that they enable to be published, and we continue to make representations to the Government in this connection.