Online Safety Bill passes through parliament
The Online Safety Bill has been signed off by the Houses of Parliament and is now set to become law, after passing through its final parliamentary debate.
If and when the bill becomes law, social media platforms will be expected to remove illegal content quickly or prevent it from appearing in the first place; prevent children from accessing harmful and age-inappropriate content; enforce age limits and age-checking measures; ensure the risks and dangers posed to children on the largest social media platforms are more transparent, including by publishing risk assessments; provide parents and children with clear and accessible ways to report problems online when they do arise.
Technology secretary Michelle Donelan said: "The Online Safety Bill is a game-changing piece of legislation. Today, this government is taking an enormous step forward in our mission to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.
"I am immensely proud of what we have achieved with this bill. Our common-sense approach will deliver a better future for British people, by making sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online. It puts protecting children first, enabling us to catch keyboard criminals and crack down on the heinous crimes they seek to commit.
"I am deeply thankful to the tireless campaigning and efforts of parliamentarians, survivors of abuse and charities who have all worked relentlessly to get this bill to the finish line."
Ofcom chief executive, Dame Melanie Dawes said: "Today is a major milestone in the mission to create a safer life online for children and adults in the UK. Everyone at Ofcom feels privileged to be entrusted with this important role, and we’re ready to start implementing these new laws.
"Very soon after the bill receives Royal Assent, we’ll consult on the first set of standards that we’ll expect tech firms to meet in tackling illegal online harms, including child sexual exploitation, fraud and terrorism."