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Internet Association and tech brands guide UK on harmful online behaviour regulation

Internet Association and tech brands steer UK gov harmful online behaviour regulation

Google, Amazon, AirBnB, Uber, Facebook and Twitter are among the tech giants grouping together to help guide the UK government on regulating harmful online activity.

Setting the scene, the letter lands as regulation talk heats up days after the Momo challenge hoax was broadly covered by the UK press, and not long after the recent death of 14-year-old Molly Russell (who was influenced by self-harm images on Instagram).

In an email, received by the BBC, the group outlined six principles that the regulation should adhere to in order to be effective.

The letter responded to claim that principles should; “Be targeted at specific harms, using a risk-based approach… provide flexibility to adapt to changing technologies, different services and evolving societal expectations… maintain the intermediary liability protections that enable the internet to deliver significant benefits for consumers, society and the economy… be technically possible to implement in practice… provide clarity and certainty for consumers, citizens and internet companies… recognise the distinction between public and private communication.”

A particular highlight is the companies looking to distance themselves from being fully liable for user-generated content. YouTube in particular, it said, should be able to "permit users to post and share information without fear that those platforms will be held liable for third-party content".

BBC media editor Amol Rajan shared the full letter on Twitter.