New law given royal assent today will better protect adults and children from harm on the internet, according to a charitable foundation that spearheaded calls for better regulation of social media companies.
William Perrin, a trustee at Carnegie UK, said: “The new Online Safety Act will bring social media companies in line with other industries by introducing a regulatory regime designed to reduce harm, particularly to children and other vulnerable groups.
“An exceptionally broad coalition of more than 50 charity and civil society organisations have played a vital role in making these new laws a reality. The number of bodies making the case for these changes shows that our previous approach to social media regulation hasn’t been working and put too many people in harm’s way.
“While the implementation of this new regulation will clearly be key to its success, UK lawmakers deserve credit for taking action to protect our collective wellbeing.”
In 2018, Carnegie UK working with Professor Lorna Woods at the University of Essex, started making the case for a new approach to social media regulation – imposing a statutory duty of care on platforms and enforcing that with a regulator independent of government. The UK Government took up this approach in their 2019 White Paper and it remains at the core of the Online Safety Act. Over the last four years, Carnegie UK has continued to make the case for reforms.
William Perrin said: “It has been my privilege to work with Carnegie UK to press the case for change to reduce online harm. But it is Professor Woods’ innovative thinking that underpins this new approach. It is now up to Government to ensure the new regime delivers as intended.”
Notes to editors
- Carnegie UK’s purpose is better wellbeing for people in the UK and Ireland. We are a charitable foundation set up over 100 years ago, based in Dunfermline and established with an endowment from Andrew Carnegie. Read more about the organisation: carnegieuktrust.org.uk
- Check out Carnegie UK’s resource page on online safety: https://carnegieuktrust.org.uk/carnegie-uk-online-safety-bill-resource-page/
- Read an article in The Guardian from 2018 by William Perrin making the case for change: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/21/detoxifying-social-media-online-misogyny
Stuart Mackinnon [email protected] / 07934296831