Response to Online Harms White Paper

Today the UK Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sports have published the long awaited Online Harms White Paper. For the last two years Glitch has campaigned for social media companies to produce reports revealing how much harmful content has been found on their platforms. We are extremely pleased this has been included in the UK Government’s White Paper.

Glitch is not about imposing restrictions on how we use social media nor censoring our right to free speech or freedom of expression.  These recommendations are solely about protecting all users from clearly defined harms, dissuading harmful behaviour and investing in digital citizenship.

Our recommendations are focused on ensuring social media are a safe place for all people to use, to express themselves free from online hate speech, harassment and abuse. Our calls for reform include, regular and holistic transparency reports, effective reporting processes, statutory duty of care on platforms, a levy on social media companies and investment in digital citizenship and resilience education.

A Survation poll , commissioned by Level Up last month, found that 56% of women under 25 and 40% of women from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background said they had been harassed at least once on Facebook. Not only is an intersectional approach to addressing online harms necessary but also the inclusion of as many diverse civil society groups working on online harms and online tech related violence. Over the coming weeks we look forward to working with civil society groups to provide a detailed analysis and response to the Government’s proposal.

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