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 Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 5:31 pm, 8th April 2019

Over the past 20 years, the thrust of children’s legislation has been to place a duty on public agencies to co-operate in the protection and safeguarding of vulnerable children, yet no such duty exists for social media companies. In that time, social media companies, using complicated algorithms, have become exceedingly skilful at trying to persuade me that I need to buy essential products that I never knew I could not live without. Will the duty of care require those companies proactively to use algorithms and artificial intelligence not only to block harmful sites in the first place, but to flag up vulnerable users who search for terms such as “kill myself” and clearly harmful websites so they are detected and helped?