Online Harms White Paper

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:31 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith Conservative, Chingford and Woodford Green 5:31 pm, 8th April 2019

I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend on producing something that clearly binds all parts of the House together. There is much to be welcomed. I want to make two quick points. First, at the heart of the problem is the business model for such businesses. Because they are so light touch and therefore bear no responsibility for what they publish, they have in a sense been able to build up companies on the cheap. Making them publishers of their content is the quickest way to achieve our No. 1 purpose, which is to break up what Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” called “cartelling”. May I direct the Secretary of State, as he looks at the legal constraints, to the idea that such businesses should be responsible, as publishers are, for the content on their websites? That would radically change everything. Has he had conversations with his counterparts in the United States to see whether there is commonality of purpose in what he requests?