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Online Harms: Who is responsible and what should happen to platforms who break the rules?

ItaliaItalia Posts: 176 Community Manager
edited June 2019 in Change The World

One of the main changes being discussed is that the Government will put in place a new “duty of care” to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of their users.  

This means that if something happens online that breaks the law or is harmful, e.g. lots of people are being bullied or there is lots of fake news, social media companies and big technology firms could be fined.  


So in other words.. 

The regulator will be acting a bit like a sports referee. When your playing sports, there are rules you need to stick to, and consequences if you break them and the ref is responsible for keeping an eye on things and making sure that everyone plays by the rules. In the same way the regulator will do that for social media companies, making sure that they are playing by the rules so everyone is kept safe. 


  • What are your thoughts on a regulator? Do you think it will help?  
  • What should happen to platforms and companies which break the rules?  


Online Harms: Who is responsible and what should happen to platforms who break the rules? 4 votes

Pay a fine
0%
Have to say what they are doing to fix the problem?
25%
htwohig2412 1 vote
Be blocked so that people can't use their site anymore?
25%
L100 1 vote
The senior managers of the company be held personally responsible?
25%
Dancer 1 vote
Something else? What do you think?
25%
Aidan 1 vote
"Let everything happen to you. Beauty and Terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final"
- Rainer Maria Rilke 

Comments

  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,979 Boards Guru
    edited June 2019
    Something else? What do you think?

    What are your thoughts on a regulator? Do you think it will help?  


    I think it's difficult and unreasonable to regulate the internet. There are countless platforms, globally, and as a global network the UK alone cannot regulate the internet and expect it to adhere to what we say our rules are. I'm concerned this could lead to portions of the internet being made unavailable in the UK.

    I don't think it will help. Individuals are accountable for their actions, not the platforms the individuals express themselves on- I think platforms can only be held accountable for their co-operation with police in removing illegal content and giving evidence after the fact.

    Who will regulate the regulator?

    What should happen to platforms and companies which break the rules?


    It depends on how they've been broken. I think legal action is unreasonable as the paper sets out to hold companies accountable for individuals'  
    behaviours which are harmful but not necessarily illegal


    Online Harms: Who is responsible and what should happen to platforms who break the rules?


    Who is responsible?

    • Individuals who harm others are responsible, for harming others in the first place.
    • Platforms are responsible for co-operating with police, removing illegal material after the fact, as well as preventing those individuals from using their services after committing a crime on that service.

    What should happen to platforms who break the rules?


    Fines
    could drive online platforms away from operating in the UK. They are businesses after all, and the internet is global.

    It's worth mentioning these platforms would still be available in the UK with widely available, and often free or cheap, services and technology that encrypts a user's data and location etc.

    The time taken to explain what a platform is going to do to tackle an issue takes time away from actually tackling the issue.

    Blocking a site is harmful to the internet and its freedom. Also can be quite easily bypassed if someone wanted to access the site from the UK anyway.

    Holding senior managers personally responsible may not be reasonable or even possible, as senior management may have limited involvement in what the UK defines as the responsibilities of all online platforms worldwide and their own country's governments could refuse to co-operate in legal undertakings.


    Something else, what I think:
    Individuals (within the UK) should be held accountable in the UK for their online crimes, and online platforms should co-operate to give evidence- or the appropriate people within that company should be tried, as any other person is if they fail to give evidence or otherwise obstruct justice.

    There should be no repercussions for individuals engaging in legal behaviour, besides how the platform chooses to limit that individuals' experience of the platform if the platform chooses to do so at all.
    but idk tho
    Italia
  • ItaliaItalia Posts: 176 Community Manager
    Hey @Aidan

    Thanks for taking the time to think this through. I hear what you are saying. The next post is all about how we educate people to be able to be responsible online.

    So what you are saying is that people should be responsible rather than the platforms? This does make a lot of sense, but could be more challenging to police maybe? I really like what you have to say about individuals taking responsibility though, just as we would expect people to do in public.

    Thanks again! Super helpful :+1:
    "Let everything happen to you. Beauty and Terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final"
    - Rainer Maria Rilke 
  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,979 Boards Guru
    Something else? What do you think?
    I'm going to be using a metaphor throughout this entire thing to make it understandable, which in this case are bars instead of online platforms

    So what you are saying is that people should be responsible rather than the platforms?

    • Yes; if someone starts a brawl in a bar, it's the fault of that person, not of the bar. Is it fair to tell the bar that fighting isn't allowed, and then penalise the bar whenever there's a fight?

    • It goes beyond that though- because it's the internet that's being dealt with which is worldwide.

    • In this case it'd be like telling bars in other countries that fighting is not allowed- how do you enforce this, your law in other countries? You can't. So you ban UK nationals from visiting these bars, which isn't particularly fair on UK nationals. Some of them will still find ways around this blanket ban, maybe with fake ID's or very convincing foreign accents.

    • But then you have the problem that there are lots of bars around the world, more than you can handle or cope with. You won't know a large proportion of them even exist. There will be lots of bars you haven't banned UK nationals from even though these bars aren't following your rules. There's also potential for UK nationals to be banned from bars that do follow your rules- but you didn't take notice because it might be a small bar.

    • Imagine the smaller bars keep having fights, and keep getting penalised. You can seriously put them out of business because you have placed the responsibility of how their patrons behave on the bar, and not the patrons themselves. Bar staff are made redundant, patrons have to go somewhere else, it creates a lot of problems.

    • But the big bars, the bars that are international brands and have lots of money and staff- the penalties have a lesser effect on them, maybe even a negligible effect. Maybe because these bars find it easier to receive penalties than actually try to stop fights, they have a lot of fights.

    • Alternatively, if the penalties are seriously effecting one of these big international bar companies- they can just withdraw from the UK, stop serving UK nationals, and carry on serving the rest of the world with the only detriment being to UK business, UK jobs and UK custom.

    I hope that's an understandable (very) extended metaphor!
    but idk tho
    Italia
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