UK plans to hold Facebook, other social media firms liable for harmful content

The British government has announced new online safety proposals designed to punish social media companies for failing to protect users from harmful content.

The push comes after a gunman was able to broadcast his massacre of New Zealand mosque-goers live on Facebook last month, raising serious questions about tech firms’ ability to police damaging posts. Social media firms have also been accused of allowing cyberbullying, the spread of pornography, and disinformation during election campaigns.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said tech companies had “not done enough” to protect users, especially children and young people, and that her government intended to put “a legal duty of care” on the firms “to keep people safe.”