Boris Johnson has insisted new internet safety laws will impose “criminal sanctions with tough sentences” on social media giants for allowing “foul content” on their platforms.
The Online Safety Bill is expected to force the biggest tech firms, such as Facebook and Google, to abide by a duty of care to users, overseen by Ofcom as the new regulator for the sector.
Opposition leader, Sir Keir Starmer, backed this bill, saying in PMQs: “Closing down anonymous accounts would not have prevented the murder of Jo Cox, nor PC Keith Palmer…nor would it have saved Sir David. If we are going to get serious about stopping online attacks, we need to get serious about stopping online spaces being safe spaces for terrorists.”
Calling social media giants “arrogant”, Starmer pushed the Prime Minister to end delays on the legislation and “clean out the cesspit once and for all.”
The Online Safety Bill has been three years in the making, yet has not yet made it to the House.
Sir Keir invited Mr Johnson to work on a cross-party basis to “tackle violent extremism and its enablers together”.
Mr Johnson replied: “I’m delighted to join (Sir Keir) in committing to tackle online harms together, to tackling violent extremism together, that is what the Government is doing.”
“That’s why we’ve brought forward the Online Harms Bill, that’s why we’re investing record sums in tackling counter-terrorism.”
The Prime Minister told MPs the Online Harms Bill will make progress in the Commons before Christmas.