New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss is reportedly going to amend the Online Safety Bill to allow for more free speech. Tory MPs had raised concerns about the bill’s restrictions on legal speech.
The Online Safety bill is supposed to force online platforms, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, to combat “harmful” content.
The bill had raised concerns from Conservative politicians over regulatory overreach.
Prime Minister Truss said she would water down the bill when it returns to the House of Commons but it’s not yet known whether she’ll make any meaningful changes.
“What I want to make sure is we protect the under-18s from harm, but we also make sure free speech is allowed, so there may be some tweaks required,” she said.
According to the Financial Times, officials have been looking to change the bill’s definition of “legal but harmful” content, to allow for more free speech.
At a Conservative Party leadership campaign in the summer, Truss said that “where it’s about adults being able to speak freely, they absolutely should be, and it should be the same online as offline.”
Another official said that the government wants to “play down the controversy over people theoretically getting into trouble over what they say … some people in the party have been worried about the free-speech aspects.”
Over the summer, Kemi Badenoch, who was eyeing the leadership of the Conservative Party, and is now the International Trade Secretary, said the bill would be “legislating for hurt feelings.”
Conservative politician David Davis aired similar sentiments, describing the bill as “the biggest accidental curtailment of free speech in modern history.”