Clause 15 - Duties to protect content of democratic importance

Part of Online Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 7th June 2022.

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Photo of Alex Davies-Jones Alex Davies-Jones Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 4:45 pm, 7th June 2022

I appreciate the Minister’s allowing me to come back on this. During the Committee’s evidence sessions, we heard of examples where bad-faith state actors were interfering in the Scottish referendum, hosting Facebook groups and perpetuating disinformation around the royal family to persuade voters to vote “Yes” to leave the United Kingdom. That disinformation by illegal bad-faith actors could currently come under both the democratic importance and journalistic exemptions, so would be allowed to remain for the duration of that campaign. Given the exemptions in the Bill, it could not be taken down but could have huge, serious ramifications for democracy and the security of the United Kingdom.