New law for online safety could be in place by April 2023

The Online Safety Bill had its second reading at the House of Lords on 1 February. Discussion included age verification, responsibility of social media platforms, and content that is ‘legal but harmful’. By Laura Linkomies.

The Online Safety Bill is intended to protect children and adults online, and make social media companies more responsible for their users’ safety on their platforms. The law will be enforced by Ofcom(1), with fines potentially up to £18 million, or 10% of annual qualifying worldwide revenue, whichever is higher. Ofcom can also apply for a court order to undertake business disruption measures, such as blocking access to a website. Senior executives may face a jail sentence for repeated failures. Consequently, much is at stake. As the legislation is expected to be passed this spring, companies need to prepare now.

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