Online Safety Act: some groups to be able to make 'super-complaints' to Ofcom

Under a proposal revealed by the government, children's charities, free speech advocates and other groups could be able to raise online safety and freedom of expression concerns directly to Ofcom through a “super-complaint”.

Under the Online Safety Act, social media companies must protect children, enforce the promises they make to users and remove illegal content. Individuals can report harmful and illegal content to social media companies.

The aim of the super-complaints process is to help Ofcom stay on top of systemic harmful trends and emerging threats by letting organisations, such as charities and consumer groups, raise new concerns as soon as they emerge.

The government has launched a consultation, seeking views from expert groups to help define who can make super-complaints, the conditions and format of a super-complaint, and expectations on how Ofcom should respond to each complaint.

Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: "The Online Safety Act makes the UK the safest place in the world to be online, but we need to be sure Ofcom is ready to respond to any emerging online safety issues as soon as they arise.

"The super-complaints process will allow organisations to make Ofcom aware of new challenges quickly and efficiently, making sure the ambition and promise of the Online Safety Act can keep pace with evolving trends, protecting people online for decades to come.”

Gill Whitehead, Ofcom’s Online Safety Group Director, said: "Protecting children and protecting free speech are key pillars of the UK’s groundbreaking new online safety laws. Campaigners’ voices have helped lay the foundations, and we want to continue hearing from them as we build a safer life online.

"We’ve assembled a world-class a team so we can keep a close eye on issues as they emerge, and we’ve already set out our first blueprint for what tech firms need to do to tackle illegal harms. But we won’t be doing this alone, and we’re looking forward to working with a broad coalition of experts."



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