Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve Crossbench 3:45 pm, 8th February 2017

My Lords, I share the view that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, has expressed, that the amendment probably is not the way to go about this. Algorithms are too ubiquitous, useful and powerful in this case. I do not know what we could do instead, but I note that one of the things we are looking at, together with the problem that the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, has identified, is that the internet service providers and the big media companies are supposedly platforms, not publishers, and they do not have the responsibilities of publishers for that reason. Facebook will say that it merely hosts the material that individuals post. When individuals post material, they ought to think that it reaches an indefinite number of people because the algorithm spreads it through the echo chambers. It is the cyber silos that we are going to have to think about. With the greatest regret, I do not think the amendment would do that, but I very much support the principle of looking into this matter.