UK governmental paper calls for an independent ‘online harms’ regulator

The UK government has published the ‘Online Harms White Paper’ laying out a set of new stringent measures increasing safety online and enhancing platforms’ responsibility towards illicit content management. Firstly, the paper introduces a ‘duty of care which will require companies to take reasonable steps to keep their users safe and tackle illegal and harmful activity on their services’. The central point of the paper is the to-be-appointed Independent Regulator who will have effective enforcement powers such as the possibility to issue fines and block access to sites. Whether the regulator will also have the capacity to impose liability on individual members of senior management is still under discussion. The new stringent laws will not only apply to social media platforms but to ‘any company that allows users to share or discover user-generated content or interact with each other online […] namely file hosting sites, public discussion forums, messaging services, and search engines’.