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

For me, one of the attractions of compliance officers is that the idea is based on the regime we have for financial services, which has been one of the most successfully regulated industries, certainly over the past 15 years since the financial crash. The role of the compliance officer has been key to that. One good thing about the proposal is that it is the social media companies that would pay. Whenever social media companies see any form of potential illegality, they push it to arm’s length; they push it to the police, and expect the police to pick up the pieces. The police do not have the resources to chase these things down, so only exemplars get pulled up by the police. The companies should be responsible, and should pay for their own policing.

Of course I agree with the point about recommendation 28. I would like to think that the debate on that has shifted over time. The Secretary of State was obviously expressing a genuine view. I completely understand that view, and why it was expressed at that juncture. However, the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill has perhaps run away with the suggestion a little bit, and in so doing, has perhaps encroached on the good governance of this place.