‘Digital gangsters’ should face ethics code

The "ongoing" threats to democracy will be combated by a sub-committee on disinformation which will be headed up by Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe. Picture Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
The "ongoing" threats to democracy will be combated by a sub-committee on disinformation which will be headed up by Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe. Picture Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
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A clear definition of how quickly social networks will have to remove harmful content needs to be outlined, MP Damian Collins has said in response to proposals for a regulator to oversee tech giants online.

Mr Collins and the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee he chairs recently published a major report into disinformation, stating that social media platforms are behaving like “digital gangsters” and should be forced to comply with a regulated code of ethics to tackle harmful or illegal content on their sites.

The MP welcomed the white paper push for regulation, but urged clarity on how long tech companies would be given to take down any content that breaches the proposed rules.

“We need a clear definition of how quickly social media companies should be required to take down harmful content, and this should include not only when it is referred to them by users, but also when it is easily within their power to discover this content for themselves,” Mr Collins said.

“The regulator should also give guidance on the responsibilities of social media companies to ensure that their algorithms are not consistently directing users to harmful content.”