Changes are underway: this was the message from culture secretary Michelle Donelan about the Online Safety Bill. She confirmed the “legal but harmful” content clause will be scrapped. People will instead be able to filter out the harmful content they don’t want to see.
The provision was designed to focus on content such as posts encouraging suicide: it causes harm but is not illegal. Instead there will be specific crimes added to the bill, including those posts that encourage self-harm or suicide.
Social media platforms will have to disclose how they enforce minimum age limits – the requirement of being thirteen and over to be able to create an account. Donelan didn’t specify what the platforms should do to ensure kids are not faking an older age. Failure to comply could lead to intervention from Ofcom and hefty fines.
The internet giants will have to publish risk assessments, and will be punished if they don’t get rid of content banned in the bill.