Tech giants Facebook and Google will be levied with heavy fines by the British Government if they fail to eradicate “harmful” and “toxic” content from their platform. According to an interview with the Digital Minister of Britain Margot James, a special tech regulator will be appointed to administer the digital space.
The British Government is heavily focusing on the eradication of harmful content like so-called “hate speech“.
The new tech regulator will be having powers similar to that of an Information Commissioner’s Office. This regulator would be administering GDPR style fines which will be in the range of 4% of the global revenue of a firm. Also, the tech companies that fail to protect the data and privacy of a user will also be subject to punishment.
“There will be a powerful sanction regime and it’s inconceivable that it won’t include financial penalties. And they will have to be of a size to act as a deterrent. If you look at the ICO’s fining powers, that might be a useful guide to what we’re thinking about,” said James.
By March, the plans will be laid out in policy and will be finalized. The UK Government says that it is going to maintain a holistic view and there will be wide-ranging penalties.
If the tech companies fail to get a grip on their platforms and fail to make changes when prompted by the tech regulator, they can also face criminal sanctions in addition to financial fines.
“We clearly don’t want a kind of regulatory environment whose default is to deny and suppress because we want to encourage innovation,” said James. “These judgments are not necessarily clear, what is illegal and unacceptable offline should be illegal and unacceptable online.”
Also, the UK Minister does not solely blame tech firms for harmful content. She says that failing to eradicate such content will nevertheless be deemed as a failure of the tech firms.