The new bill allows governments to take criminal action against designated senior executives whose companies do not comply with the rules.
Britain said a new law would see social media companies fined up to 10 per cent of turnover or £ 18 million ($ 25 million) if they failed to eliminate online abuse such as online crime. racist hatred, while senior executives could also face criminal charges.
The online security bill also seeks to strengthen the right to freedom of expression and ensure the protection of democratic political debate and journalistic content, the government said on Wednesday.
“It’s time for technology companies to take responsibility and protect the British from harm. If they don’t, they will face sanctions, ”Interior Secretary Priti Patel said.
Technology companies have been accused of doing too little to deal with online abuse, and football clubs and other sports authorities boycotted the world’s largest social media platforms last month to highlight the growing problem. .
Comprehensive legislation was first proposed more than two years ago and has expanded beyond an initial approach to protecting young people online. It also adds measures to combat online fraud.
The bill will establish a duty of care on social media companies and websites to ensure they take swift action to remove illegal content, such as hate crimes, harassment and threats against people, including abuses that are find below the criminal threshold.
There will also be a requirement to eliminate and limit the dissemination of material considered “terrorist”, suicidal content and child sexual abuse, which should be reported to the authorities.
Companies that do not face high fines from the Ofcom regulator, which can also block access to their sites.
“The bill contains reserved powers for Ofcom to take criminal action against senior executives for companies not complying with Ofcom’s requests for information,” the government said. “They will be introduced if technology companies fail to meet their new responsibilities.”
The proposed law will also oblige companies to safeguard freedom of expression and restore unjustly removed material.
It will also ban technology companies from discriminating against particular political views and Ofcom will hold them accountable for the arbitrary removal of journalistic content, the government added.
Larger web platforms such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. will be “prohibited from discriminating particular political views and will have to apply equal protections to various political opinions, regardless of their affiliation,” the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement.