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Changes to laws on online safety

In a press release last week, the Government gave details about upcoming changes to how various topics are to be handled online.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries (Conservative) has announced a new list of subject matters that online platforms have to be vigilant in combatting.

Previously topics such as Terrorism were included, but now it has been expanded to include such subjects as hate crimes, fraud & revenge porn. These changes are to encourage online firms to quicker clamp down on content on their platform, as it also allows Ofcom to take action much faster than previously.

The onus is also now on these online firms to police their own content, rather than waiting for reports from users. Whether this will be done manually by staff, or handled by back end systems seems to be up to the specific company for now.

The bill is also hoping to provide better protectoin for celebritys and public figures that are much more likely to receive hate speech and threatening mesages online, help address online coercion, and recognise domestic threats made online.

Some online platforms (such as Twitch, a livestreaming website used mainly by gamers) have automated methods inplace already to recognise and take down offensive content, and the users that put it forward. This can on occasion lead to false reports however, as the algorithms for this kind of thing are not perfect. If similar methods are used on platforms such as Facebook, while it would surely help cut down on a lot of offensive content, there will have to be some oversight by human staff.

As further details come forward on this we shall be sure to update.

Posted in: Online Safety

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