Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright to meet Mark Zuckerberg for internet safety talks

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Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is to discuss internet safety with the Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright today, as the Government looks to tackle online harms with legislative measures to protect vulnerable people.

Mr Wright has flown out to San Francisco with Digital Minister Margot James this week, to meet with companies in Silicon Valley, the world’s tech capital.

The move comes amid increased concern about the types of content easily obtainable on social networks, highlighted by the case of Molly Russell, who died in 2017 aged 14.

Her family found material relating to depression and suicide when they looked at her Instagram account after her death.

“The British public have legitimate concerns about their safety and security online and, as a responsible government, we are taking action,” said Mr Wright.

“The era of self regulation is coming to an end but I still want to see innovative solutions on online harms being put forward by the industry.

“I look forward to meeting Mr Zuckerberg to discuss what more Facebook can do to help keep people safe on their platforms, as we prepare a new regulatory framework that will reinforce Facebook’s and other tech firms’ responsibility to keep us safe.”

Mr Wright will also use the meeting to probe the Facebook chief executive for updates on how it is tackling the spread of disinformation on the platform, as well as underage access that goes against Facebook’s own terms and conditions.

Twitter, Apple, Google, YouTube, Snap and Tinder will also meet with the Digital Secretary and Minister, ahead of final work on a government white paper setting out a range of tighter controls to make tech companies responsible for the content on their platforms, which is expected to be published by the end of winter.

On Tuesday, the MPs met with British tech entrepreneurs and executives based in San Francisco, to get expert insight into ways of improving online safety and giving users control of their data.

Earlier this week, a Commons committee concluded its report on social media, calling the likes of Facebook “digital gangsters” and recommending a compulsory regulated code of ethics to tackle harmful or illegal content on their sites.

Chris Price
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