Ofcom spearheads global clampdown on harmful social media content

Ofcom spearheads global clampdown on harmful social media content

Media regulators around the world are to join forces under the direction of Ofcom to launch an unprecedented coordinated clampdown against harmful content hosted by social media firms.

The unified approach to a global issue will see Ofcom chief executive Sharon White take the lead in efforts to protect the public from malicious material and malign conduct by gathering together her worldwide counterparts in the UK next year.

In doing so White hopes to learn from experience elsewhere, particularly countries such as Germany which have already introduced new laws to impose deadlines on the removal of content identified as hate speech.

In a statement Ofcom wrote: “Our experience so far suggests that cooperation and coordination between independent regulators could produce better results in tackling the behaviour of global players.”

As part of these ambitions the organisation has identified five priority areas which the general public have identified as in need of greater oversight including child exploitation; hate speech; self-harm or violence; trolling, bullying & harassment and fake news.

A corresponding Ofcom survey of 1,700 people aged 16 and above found that 52% of the public backed tighter regulations with a third claiming it was now impossible to avoid harmful or offensive online content when browsing the web.

Previous Ofcom research has shown that Britons now devote 24 hours per week towards their online lives.

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