The Government is asking for your feedback on the Internet Safety Strategy, [1] which is the first part of the new Digital Charter. In the effort to make Britain the “safest place in the world to be online”, the Strategy lays out principles and guidelines that will affect how internet companies treat online speech and content.

Much of the Strategy deserves support, including a plan to empower users with the tools they need to stay safe online, and calls for increased transparency from social media companies.

But other measures are concerning, ranging from a possible sanctions regime to a social media levy that could benefit industry-connected charities.

The Strategy also reflects a growing expectation that social media companies should be the Government's surrogate enforcers of loosely defined standards of acceptable speech, with little credence given to the rights of users.

THE CONSULTATION IS NOW CLOSED.

  • We support empowering citizens with the knowledge and tools to stay safe online.
  • We support calls for increased transparency from social media platforms about take-down metrics, censorship policies, and how they record views, impressions and click throughs rates.
  • If levies are to be imposed on social media companies, they should be mandated within a clear framework of taxation. Also, any beneficiaries of a social media levy must not be industry-connected organisations.
  • We oppose the use of sanctions to compel digital service providers to remove content. This could inspire the use of inaccurate automated takedowns that can harm free speech.
  • The process of evaluating online content must respect citizens' fundamental rights of freedom of speech.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/internet-safety-strategy-gre...