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Government accuses of ‘undermining’ online safety bill removing ‘legal but harmful’ requirements

the government abolished the measures online safety bill it would have forced Social media Sites have been forced to remove material designated as “legal but harmful” in what Labor called a “substantial undermining” of the law.

Some Conservative MPs have previously warned that repealed measures may pose a threat freedom of speech It can lead to “political censorship”.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donnellan argued that removing these aspects of the much-delayed bill would help it eventually become “legislation.”

But Samaritan warned that withdrawing the measure would be a “very backward step” before the bill returned to Congress next week, accusing the government of “stealing defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Under the original bill’s plan, the largest platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would be forced to remove not only illegal content, but also material legally designated as potentially harmful by law. was

Instead, platforms are only required to remove illegal content, as well as material that violates their own terms of service.

And companies will push harder to provide adults with tools to hide certain content they don’t want to see, in lieu of “legal but harmful” obligations. The glorification of eating disorders, misogyny, and other forms of abuse are harmful to watch.

The government has dubbed these three requirements the “triple shield” of online protection, and Donnellan told the BBC that the bill meant “certainly by no means weak”. .

Tech companies have also published summaries of their risk assessments of potential harm to children on their sites, show how they can enforce age restrictions on users, and have announced that Ofcom, the tech sector’s new regulator, will give them details of the enforcement actions taken against them should be made public. .

The updated rules also prohibit platforms from removing users or accounts unless they clearly violate the site’s terms of service or the law.

But the campaign group’s Big Brother Watch said the government’s “revival of plans to push social media companies’ terms of service into the country… is completely backwards and ignoring months of expert scrutiny.” and poses a major threat to freedom of speech,” warned Britain.

Samaritans CEO Julie Bentley described removing the requirement to remove “legal but harmful” content as a “huge step backwards”. It doesn’t end with your 18th birthday.

“Tightening the controls people have is no substitute for holding sites accountable by law. This feels like government snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell said the amendments were a “substantial undermining” of the bill, adding: Who will feel encouraged to succeed online. “

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) also said that social media sites are now more focused on user control “instead of an affirmative duty to deal with malicious individuals and dangerous content.” , warns that it can make you feel “indifferent”.

The bill is due to be returned to parliament next week after being postponed repeatedly, and the government hopes to get the bill into law before the summer holidays.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donnellan denies that bill changes have ‘undermined’ the bill

(James Manning/PA)

Culture Secretary Michelle Donnellan defended the decision to remove “legal but harmful” obligations from the bill, calling it “confusing” and “potentially stifling free speech.”

But she argued that protections for children had been enhanced. Said he said

“Unregulated social media has hurt our children for too long. It must end,” Donnellan said. Either enact these measures to improve the situation, or fight the status quo and put more young lives at risk.”

Suicide prevention campaign set by Molly Rose Foundation, Molly Russell familysaid it was “disappointed” that the bill had been “watered down”, adding that “freedom of speech is an important issue, but this is about freedom to live, not freedom of speech”.

But the group said it would accept the change if it meant the bill was finally passed.

The latest changes come in the wake of other updates to the bill, including encouraging self-harm and “down-browsing” and criminalizing sharing deepfakes of pornography. These changes were especially welcomed by the CCDH campaign group.

The government also confirmed that additional amendments aimed at increasing the protection of women and girls online will be submitted soon.

In addition, the Victims Commissioner, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, and Children Commissioner will be added to the bill as legal counselors. That means Ofcom will have to consult them when drafting a new code of conduct that tech companies must follow to comply with the bill. .

England’s Children’s Commissioner Rachel De Souza said this would ensure that “children’s views and experiences are fully understood”.

“We cannot allow more children to suffer. Losing a child to suicide after being exposed to horrific self-harm and suicidal content is a tragic reminder of the powerful consequences of harmful online material.” ‘ she said.

The culture secretary said overseas politicians are keen to use it as a “blueprint” for themselves and that the rest of the world is “watching” as the UK enacts new online safety legislation. claimed

“I have spoken to many ministers and counterparts around the world and they have said they are interested in using our legislation as a blueprint for their own legislation,” Donnellan said. told GB News. “Long time no see. The letters are on the wall now.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ap-london-rishi-sunak-bill-parliament-b2235104.html Government accuses of ‘undermining’ online safety bill removing ‘legal but harmful’ requirements

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