Hold online forums and social media sites responsible for fake news and extremism, says Labour MP

Hold online forums and social media sites responsible for fake news and extremism, says Labour MP

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

MPs will debate a bill today that could see online forums held responsible for the content users publish on them, in a bit to tackle fake news, hate and extremism.

Labour’s Lucy Powell has the support of MPs across her own party and the Conservatives, including David Lammy, Luciana Berger, Stella Creasy, Jess Phillips and Ruth Smeeth, as well as Tories Nicky Morgan, Robert Halfon, Bob Neill, Anna Soubry and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Large-scale forums like Reddit, and social media sites could be held to account for posts made on their sites.

Moderators could be liable for any hate speech or defamation that appears on sites and forums if they don’t remove it, and Powell also proposes to ban secret groups on Facebook, that cannot be found by searching for them unless you’re invited to join.

In July, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee published its interim report on fake news.

Chair of the committee Damian Collins said in the report: “We are facing a democratic crisis founded on the manipulation of personal data, and targeting pernicious views to users, particularly during elections and referenda.

“The Committee outlines a series of recommendations to tackle the problem of disinformation and fake news facing the whole world.”

The report proposed to “tighten tech companies' liabilities” over fake news, and said a white paper would be published later this year which would outline “a new category of tech company”.

It also called on the Competition and Markets Authority to audit social media sites to check they were acting on fake news.