The UK government has established the world’s first independent regulator to try and help social media giants like Facebook in check according to CNET.
Companies could face fines for not following the new requirements that will be implemented.
The goal of the new internet regulator is to make the web a safer place.
The regulator will ensure social media networks tackle problems including:
-Incitement of violence and the spread of violent (including terrorist) content
-Encouragement of self-harm or suicide
-The spread of disinformation and fake news
-Children's access to inappropriate material
-Child exploitation and abuse content
The new requirements will apply to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media networks and other websites.
I believe everyone can agree that we don’t want children to have access to pornographic content or that violent inciting content should be widely available online to be viewed. However, what does concern me is who gets to decide what “disinformation” and “fake news” is?
We’ve already seen social sites deactivate and delete the accounts of Alex Jones and other political figures for their posts. While I don’t agree with Jones and others, they should be able to speak freely online unless they are encouraging violence or harm toward others.
While the new UK regulator has no jurisdiction over the U.S. and our access to social media content, this new governmental figure could push the social giants toward blocking certain websites in the UK because they feel it’s “disinformation” or “fake news.”
Wonder if he or she decides that BreitBart or The Daily Caller is “fake news”?
Would you be ok with that? If you’re a liberal, then maybe you’d say yes.
However, what if the new regulator says Mother Jones, CNN, or MSNBC is spreading “disinformation”? Which actually wouldn’t be a lie, CNN spread fake news for two and half years about Trump and Russia, but regardless, I would not agree with their websites being blocked off social media.
It’s a tricky and potential dangerous slippery slope when a government grants someone the ability to fine social sites for content on their websites they deem spreading “disinformation” or “fake news.”
Will this new UK regulator make the internet a safer place or just a more censored place?
I lean towards these new policies creating more censorship than safety.
Dr. Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.