Media and telco consortium calls for social media regulation

Companies including Channel 4, BT and the BBC urge the government to place firms like Facebook under greater oversight

Lego builders dismantling the Facebook logo

Social media firms should be subjected to oversight by an independent regulatory authority, Britain's top media bosses and telecoms firms have told the government.

In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, the heads of Sky, BT, Talk Talk, ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC all banded together to demand that tech firms like Facebook and Twitter are placed under greater scrutiny. The group voiced concerns that social networks have the potential to do harm in a number of ways, including allowing the spread of misinformation and fake news, allowing child exploitation and negatively impacting their mental health.

"There is an urgent need for independent scrutiny of the decisions taken, and greater transparency," the letter read. "This is not about censoring the internet, it is about making the most popular internet platforms safer, by ensuring there is accountability and transparency over the decisions these private companies are already taking."

Advertisement - Article continues below

The letter also made a point of highlighting that its signatories pay "high and fair levels of tax" - something that tech companies are repeatedly accused of shirking - and that they also invest heavily in UK infrastructure. Furthermore, they pointed out that they are all subject to communications watchdog Ofcom's regulatory authority, which social media firms are not.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White has also joined the call for higher regulation of these companies, stating in an editorial for The Times earlier this year that "that the argument for independent regulatory oversight of their activities has never been stronger", and promising to outline what Ofcom thinks that regulation should look like in the Autumn.

Social media companies have been placed under an increasing amount of pressure from governments and advocacy groups worldwide over their seeming inability to effectively moderate their platforms. Campaigners have highlighted issues including hate speech, terrorist recruitment and covert influence by countries such as Russia and Iran as examples where Facebook and Twitter have failed to take adequate action.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Social media bosses are set to be grilled by US lawmakers this week over foreign government influence, but Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has regularly turned down requests to testify before Parliamentary inquiries regarding misinformation.

The government has pledged to draw up a white paper on the issue of social media, focusing particularly on online safety. The white paper is due to be published at the end of the year, and media and telco bosses say that it offers a "golden opportunity" to hold firms like Facebook and Twitter to account.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/business/policy-legislation/356416/dems-ask-facebook-google-and-twitter-for-coronavirus
Policy & legislation

Dems Ask Facebook, Google and Twitter for Coronavirus Disinformation Reports

10 Jul 2020
Visit/marketing-comms/social-media/356400/twitter-job-postings-point-to-a-new-subscription-platform
social media

Twitter job postings point to a new subscription platform

9 Jul 2020
Visit/marketing-comms/social-media/356361/stop-hate-for-profit-calls-on-facebook-to-address-hate-on-the
social media

Stop Hate for Profit calls on Facebook to address hate on the platform

6 Jul 2020
Visit/security/privacy/356321/facebook-flaw-gave-5000-developers-access-to-personal-data
privacy

Facebook flaw gave 5,000 developers access to users' data

2 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Visit/business/business-operations/356395/nvidia-overtakes-intel-as-most-valuable-us-chipmaker
Business operations

Nvidia overtakes Intel as most valuable US chipmaker

9 Jul 2020
Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/mobile/google-android/356373/over-2-dozen-additional-android-apps-found-stealing-user-data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020