April 2023

Massive loophole exposed in Online Safety Bill

The Molly Rose Foundation (MRF) is urgently calling for a strengthened Online Safety Bill (OSB) in light of an amendment which would allow social media bosses to escape criminal prosecution over illegal content promoting suicide and self harm.

The loophole, which would also apply to child sexual abuse, means they would not face prison even if they persistently refuse to remove the material, though regulator Ofcom would be able to issue fines up to 10 per cent of global turnover.

The same legislation would see senior managers face jail sentences of up to two years if they fail to protect children from harm, but it only covers content which is not illegal, such as pornography, eating disorders and some types of self-harm.

Ian Russell told the Telegraph: “This amendment falls well short of what is required to make tech firms accountable for inherently dangerous design choices and ministers must deliver on what was originally promised.

“It is inexplicable that social media bosses could be allowed dodge personal liability for exposing children to suicide and self-harm material that is so harmful that the Government has already recognised it should be made illegal.
“We urgently need a strengthened Online Safety Bill that protects young people from the cavalier approach of tech companies and commercial interests that continue to prioritise profit over our children’s safety.”

If you’re struggling just text MRF to 85258 so you can speak to a trained volunteer from Shout, the UK’s Crisis Text Line service

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