Internet: Harassment

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Brady Baroness Brady Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to stop online (1) trolling, (2) harassment, and (3) cyberbullying; and what measures are in place to protect victims of such abuse.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Online Harms White Paper sets out our plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. We intend to establish in law a new duty of care on companies towards their users, overseen by an independent regulator. The duty of care will ensure companies have appropriate systems and processes in place to deal with harmful content on their services to keep their users safe. Compliance with this duty of care will be overseen by an independent regulator, which will have a range of enforcement powers.

Alongside the White Paper, the government published the Social Media Code of Practice. This voluntary guidance sets out actions that the Government believes social media platforms should take to prevent bullying, insulting, intimidating and humiliating behaviours on their sites.

Government has also asked the Law Commission to conduct a second phase of its review of the legal framework around abusive and offensive communications online. This will make specific recommendations for legal reform and is due to report in early 2021. Alongside this, the Law Commission will also consider whether co-ordinated harassment by groups of people online could be more effectively dealt with by the criminal law.

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