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Harmful content: Facebook and Google may face a sanctions regime in the UK

American tech giants Facebook and Google may soon face mammoth penalties in the UK if they fail to control the spread of fake news, hate speech, and other kinds of harmful content, according to an upcoming policy paper, reports Business Insider. The paper focuses on internet safety, and calls for the formation of a regulator independent of the British government to protect users from harmful online content. The body will determine what constitutes harmful content and penalize firms for failing to take action to remove inappropriate content. The government is taking a 'holistic' approach of what harmful content is The proposed regulator will examine everything from illegal hate speech, such as ISIS recruitment videos, racism, child abuse, online child grooming, suicide and self-harm content James said that although platforms are not to blame for harmful content, it is their fault if they fail to remove it promptly “before it proliferates”  UK’s digital minister Margot James said that the government will develop a sanctions regime that is “not too dissimilar from the powers that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) already has.” James said that a guiding principle is: “what is illegal and unacceptable offline should be illegal and unacceptable online.” ICO is the UK’s enforcing body for the GDPR. The ICO has the mandate to levy penalties of up to 4% of a company’s global revenue. James hinted at the ICO’s penalty sizes as indicative of fines that the new regulator could impose. “There will be a powerful sanction regime and…

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