#EndOnlineAbuse Campaign: Our Response to the APPG on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Today The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing published its enquiry report on the health impact of social media.

We welcome the report’s recommendations, particularly the call for social media companies to be taxed on profits to to fund research and draw up clearer guidance for the public.

Since Autumn last year Glitch and the Centenary Action Group have been campaigning for new money to protect the public from online offences and harms. We strongly believe global tech giants should pay their fair share. We cannot wait for regulation, we need practical action now. A DCMS consultation last year found four in ten people said they had experienced abuse online. This issue impacts not only the mental health and wellbeing of young people but also negatively impacts on community cohesion and exacerbates existing social inequalities that also disproportionately affect marginalised communities.

Through no negative deficit, using money from the newly announced “digital services tax” of 2% on tech giants, the UK Government can take decisive action towards ensuring the internet is useable for all, championing online citizenship and reinforcing our position as a leader in the digital arena. This new tax is expected to raise an additional £400m a year and we are asking the Government to ring-fence at least 1% of the new digital service tax annually for ending online abuse. We recommend this new money is used to:

  • Enforce existing legislation on online abuse and increase police resources
  • Educate the public on the importance of good online citizenship.
  • Empower individuals and civil society organisations working to end online abuse.

The UK Government has announced a White Paper setting out the responsibilities of online platforms that will be published soon. Consideration is being given to measures we recommend such as an internet regulator, statutory ‘duty of care’ on platforms, and a levy on social media companies.

We look forward to finding out more about these measures and for this consultation to involve as many diverse civil society groups working on online harms and online tech related violence.

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