Social media companies not trusted to combat online abuse

Social Media

The public does not trust social media companies when it comes to dealing with online abuse and hateful content, research from Hope not Hate suggests.

It also found the majority of people in the UK support more regulation on tech firms.

The study by the anti-abuse and anti extremism campaign group found that nearly three quarters (74%) of those asked said they did not trust social media companies alone to decide what is extreme content or disinformation when it appears on their platforms.

It found that the issue of online abuse remains a key one among the public, with 73% of those asked saying they were worried about the amount of such content on social media.It also claimed there is strong public support for tougher regulations compelling tech firms to take action against harmful content, with 71% agreeing they should be held legally responsible for the content on their platforms and 73% saying they should be made to remove such content if it appears.

The Government’s draft Online Safety Bill, which will require platforms to abide by a duty of care to users, with large financial penalties for those that fail to do so, will be looked at by MPs and peers this month.

The proposals include plans which will force platforms to identify “legal but harmful” content and how they plan to police it on their sites, which has raised concerns from some about a possible clampdown on free speech.

But Hope not Hate’s research suggests the public supports the move, with 80% of those asked saying that while they believe in free speech, there must be limits to stop the spread of extremist content online.

Chris Price
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