Mark Zuckerberg risks jail if Facebook fails to comply with new online safety law, says Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries UK News


Mark Zuckerberg could end up behind bars if Facebook fails to comply with new online safety laws, the culture secretary has warned.

Nadine Dorries said she is bringing the Online Safety Act to the attention of social media giants like Facebook, which aims to force internet platforms to crack down on illegal content.

It comes after it was revealed that long-awaited legislation has been strengthened with the addition of a range of new offences.

What is the Online Safety Bill and why are some people concerned about it?

Revenge porn, hate crimes, fraud, the sale of illegal drugs or weapons, the promotion or facilitation of suicide, human smuggling and sexual exploitation have been included in the list of priority offenses and therefore all materials must be removed and action taken to stop users, who come across it.

Under the new rules, online platform executives could face jail if they don’t comply, Ms Dorries said.

She said she hopes the bill is a “message to online platforms to say, here it is, we’ll let you know what it is now, so start doing what you need to do.” .

But on Times Radio, she pressed that if senior executives like Mr Zuckerberg could end up in jail if they don’t act, she said: “Absolutely.”

But Andy Burrows, head of online child safety policy at the NSPCC, argued that wasn’t the case.

He said: “Despite the rhetoric, the government’s current proposals mean that tech bosses will not be held personally liable for the harmful effects of their algorithms or failure to prevent grooming, and can only be prosecuted if they fail to provide information to the regulator.” deliver.

“It is clear that unless the Online Safety Act is sufficiently strengthened, criminal sanctions will bark but offer no bite.

“Children need well-designed regulation that learns lessons from other sectors if the bill is to live up to rhetoric and prevent inherently preventable abuse.”

So what are the three new crimes?

New offenses are to be included after reports from parliamentary committees suggested the bill needed strengthening and further clarity.

They were recommended by the Law Commission to make the law fit for the internet age, the government said.

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• The first is a “serious threat” communications offense, which covers communications sent or posted to convey a threat of serious harm.

This is to capture online threats of rape, killing, and physical violence or causing serious financial harm to people.

It aims to better protect celebrities, MPs and other public figures who are exposed to harmful online hate.

Those found guilty of this offense face up to five years in prison under the new changes.

• The second is a harm-based communications crime aimed at facilitating the prosecution of online abusers and better combating forms of violence against women or girls.

This will carry a maximum sentence of two years behind bars.

• An offense when someone sends a communication they know to be false with intent to cause harm is the last offense added to the bill.

Although there is a similar offense in another bill in Parliament, this one will cover threatening to use fake bombs or spreading harmful COVID-19 misinformation.

If found guilty, a person could face 51 weeks in prison under the changes.

“The safest place in the world to be online”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries will speak to Sky News from 9am today about the Online Safety Act

“This government said it would legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online while enshrining freedom of expression and that’s what we’re going to do,” Ms Dorries said.

“Our world-leading law will protect children from online abuse and harm, protect the most vulnerable from accessing harmful content and ensure there is no safe place for terrorists to hide online.”

More strengthening needed, Labor says

Despite the changes, Labor said the bill must go further to protect users by introducing tougher sanctions for company executives who break the new laws.

The ministerial bill provides for executive criminal liability as a secondary power that could be introduced two years after the bill comes into force.

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Online security bill warning

But ministers have since said they want to speed this up to between three and six months after implementation.

“The online safety law is too weak to make big tech companies sit up and ensure that hatred, crime and child abuse are rooted out in the online world,” said Lucy Powell, secretary for shadow culture.

“Regulator Ofcom will take on some of the biggest tech companies in the world.

“It’s a David and Goliath situation and Ofcom needs to have access to the full range of tools in its belt, including criminal liability for top bosses who persistently fail to act on online harms.”

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