The head of Ofcom warns that Facebook, Google and Twitter will build teams of lawyers to resist regulation when online harms legislation is introduced.
Dame Melanie Dawes, the chief executive of Ofcom, told MPs and peers that she was ready for the challenge of reining in the tech giants yesterday.
She believes the watchdog will be overwhelmed and attempts will be made to circumvent the new online safety laws because these platforms have been unregulated for so long. Dawes was open to the prospect of an ombudsman.
Dawes said that tech giants were likely to use the courts to battle regulation, using their “sheer legal weight” to challenge Ofcom.
She told MPs that she plans to become the “Red Adair” of regulating Big Tech, the buccaneering firefighter who used explosives to extinguish oil well blazes in the 20th century, as she dismissed accusations that the government’s proposals could limit freedom of speech.
Under the new Online Safety Bill, which is likely to come into force in 2023, Ofcom will be given the powers to impose multibillion-pound fines on companies that fail to protect their users from online harms.