British government to hold tech giants to account over antisemitism

Britain is set to hold social-media executives personally accountable for antisemitism and other harmful content posted on their networks, with company bosses liable to face jail time for serious breaches under newly introduced regulations.

The British government will publish the results of a consultation into policing online platforms such as Facebook and Google, detailing the measures it plans to introduce after Britain leaves the EU on January 31, 2020.

New regulations likely to emerge include placing the companies under a statutory duty of care, enforced by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. Foreign companies would be required to appoint a British-based director who would be held personally accountable for any breaches in the duty of care, under new “senior management liability” rules. Breaches of the rules would result in fines or even jail time for the company managers.

Ofcom will be responsible for drawing up legally enforceable codes of practice detailing what the tech companies need to do to protect Internet users from harmful content.

A levy on technology companies to help fund the extra regulation is being considered, although penalties for breaches of the regulations will be tapered to avoid hitting smaller companies harder than big tech giants.

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