Internet: Safety

(asked on 19th May 2021) - View Source

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether safety duties relating to content that is harmful to adults announced as part of the Online Safety Bill in the Queen's Speech 2021 will include content on and related to (a) suicide and (b) self-harm.


Answered by
Caroline Dinenage Portrait
Caroline Dinenage
This question was answered on 28th May 2021

Under the new legal duty of care, in-scope companies will need to remove and limit the spread of illegal content and activity online. This includes illegal content which encourages or incites suicide online, with all companies expected to take swift and effective action against such content.

In addition, companies whose services have high-risk functionalities and which have the largest audiences will also be required to take action on content which is legal but which may cause harm to adults such as material which relates to self-harm or suicide. These companies will need to set out in clear terms and conditions what is acceptable on their services, and enforce those terms and conditions consistently and transparently.

We are also ensuring that criminal law is fit for purpose to account for harmful and dangerous communications online. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has sponsored a Law Commission review of harmful online communications. As part of this review, the Government has also asked the Law Commission to examine how the criminal law will address the encouragement or assistance of self harm. We know there is a strong case for making this sort of appalling content illegal. The Law Commission have consulted on their proposed reforms and will produce final recommendations by summer 2021.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
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