UK proposes Internet safety levy for Internet companies

11 Oct 2017

The British government has proposed a levy on social media companies and Internet providers that would help fund the government's online safety strategy, mainly aimed to address online bullying and abuse for children and other vulnerable users. The levy would initially be voluntary, although the government may look into underpinning it in legislation. Ultimately, ministers are examining whether social media firms could be classified as 'publications' instead of 'communication platforms', which would increase the companies' responsibility for the content on their platforms. According to digital minister Karen Bradley, 'The Internet has been an amazing force for good, but it has caused undeniable suffering and can be an especially harmful place for children and vulnerable people' and 'We need an approach to the Internet that protects everyone without restricting growth and innovation in the digital economy'.

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One of the main sociocultural issues is content policy, often addressed from the standpoints of human rights (freedom of expression and the right to communicate), government (content control), and technology (tools for content control). Discussions usually focus on three groups of content:

Children’s use of the Internet and mobile technology is increasing, and for many children worldwide there is no clear distinction between the online and offline world. Access to the Internet presents many opportunities for their education, personal development, self-expression, and interaction with others.


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