Antisemitism: Internet

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 20th January 2023.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking with stakeholders to help take anti-Semitic conspiracy theories (a) on social media and (b) elsewhere online.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Online Safety Bill will apply to all companies that allow users to post content online or to interact with each other, as well as search services.

All companies in scope of the Bill will have duties to proactively tackle priority illegal content, including illegal anti-semitic content, and will need to prevent their services from being used to facilitate or commission these offences. They will also be required to swiftly remove other illegal content where there is a victim and it is flagged to them. In addition, Category 1 Service, which will include the largest social media companies, will need to ensure they properly enforce their terms of service, and provide adult users with tools to help them avoid content that is abusive or incites hatred on the basis of religion.

This means that the Bill will offer adult users a ‘triple shield’ of protection against anti-semitic content. Firstly, regulated services will need to take robust action against such content where it meets a criminal threshold. Secondly, Category 1 services will be required to take down anti-semitic content that is in breach of their own terms of service, and third, they must provide adults with greater controls over content they may not wish to see, reducing the risk that they encounter anti-semitic content.

Finally, the Online Safety Bill will require all services which are likely to be accessed by children to provide safety measures for child users. Those safety measures will need to protect children from inappropriate and harmful content and activity, including anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

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