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 Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 5:31 pm, 8th April 2019

The argument about whether such businesses are publishers or platforms takes up a great deal of time, and not necessarily to great purpose. It is better to ask how we can keep the focus on ensuring that online platforms take responsibility for what they do. We believe that the duty of care is the right method. It will not be sustainable any longer for online companies to say, “We have no responsibility for the harms that may appear on our platforms.” They will instead be required—by law if necessary—to look at what they can do to keep their users safe in any reasonably practicable way they can. If they do not do that, they will find that the regulator imposes sanctions upon them. That seems the right way forward.

I said earlier that it is appropriate for the United Kingdom to lead on this matter, and we should be proud that we are doing so, but I hope that other countries, including the United States, will see how we are approaching common challenges that the United States faces, too, and will seek to adopt similar proposals.