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UK TO FINE TECH COMPANIES THAT FAIL TO REMOVE SELF-HARM MATERIAL

 

UK TO FINE TECH COMPANIES THAT FAIL TO REMOVE SELF-HARM MATERIAL

As part of an overhaul of rules controlling online behaviour, the British government aims to make it illegal to incite people to injure themselves online and to punish social media firms that fail to delete such information.

Suicide promotion is already banned, but Britain's technology, culture, media, and sports ministry said in a statement that it now wants social media companies to prohibit a broader spectrum of information.

"Social media companies can no longer afford to be passive spectators... "Under our legislation, they will face sanctions for permitting this abusive and damaging behaviour to persist on their platforms," Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said.

The Conservative administration stated that the plans were intended to prohibit photos and videos similar to those watched by Molly Russell, a 14-year-old whose death in 2017 prompted widespread public outrage.

The coroner examining her death decided in September that social media sites had given her information that "romanticised acts of self-harm by young people."

According to the suggestions, social media corporations would be required to delete and limit users' exposure to content that intentionally urges individuals to kill themselves.

The government said last week that the new legislation will also prohibit the circulation of sexually explicit photos that have been modified to seem to contain someone who has not consented to participate in them.

Full specifics of the current measures, including the criminal consequences for those who incite self-harm and the size of fines imposed on businesses, will be made public next month when legislative revisions are introduced in parliament.

The Online Safety Bill, which includes such punishments, has been moving slowly through parliament since its initial draught in May 2021.

Earlier versions tried to prohibit "legal but destructive" online content, prompting condemnation from internet firms and free-speech advocates who claimed the term was too broad and might be used to arbitrarily criminalise otherwise lawful behaviour.

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