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UK: Online Safety Bill passes Parliament

On September 19, 2023, the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT) announced that the Online Safety Bill had been approved by both Houses of Parliament on the same date, and would become law after receiving Royal Assent.

The DSIT highlighted that the bill would require social media platforms to:

  • remove illegal content quickly or prevent it from appearing in the first place, including content promoting self-harm;
  • 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; and
  • provide parents and children with clear and accessible ways to report problems online.

Further, the DSIT noted that, once the bill is signed into law, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) would consult on the first set of standards tech firms should meet in tackling illegal online harms, including child sexual exploitation, fraud, and terrorism.

You can read the press release here, the bill here, and track its progress here.