Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:50 am on 27th January 2022.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation 11:50 am, 27th January 2022

I have heard of this before from my hon. Friend. I am grateful for the opportunity to express my deepest sympathy, shock and anger at the vile, disgusting behaviour that he and his family faced. The short answer to his question is: yes, if the Bill is got right. That picture is a type of deepfake. The harassment aspect is illegal; a case would have to be built around the harassment aspect, so he would almost have to take this offline, rather than deal with it as an online matter. The way to deal with it online would be by baking in resources such as compliance officers, and by writing it into the Bill that posting and manipulating an image that is meant to do harm should be considered an online harm, and therefore something for which social media companies could be called to account. If the Bill is crafted correctly, the egregious and disgusting use of vile images of that kind would, I hope, be curtailed.