Ofcom, a British media regulator has been appointed by the government to legally regulate harmful content over media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration has targeted content such as child-abuse, terrorism, and self-harm as key areas to be regulated. Especially in a time when media usage has skyrocketed, media content needs to be scrutinized on all platforms.
Last year, the British government thought to create a branch of the government to directly enforce content regulations. Instead, the government has decided to fund Ofcom to protect the internet from harmful content. They even held a conference with over 2,400 companies to see which company would be the best fit for the job.
According to the British government, Ofcom will have the power to give out fines, warnings, and block off internet service providers. Ofcom can also make the senior management of social media companies responsible. The government also has to make sure that the enforcement powers are to be used fairly.
There have been critics of this new proposal, because content creators are concerned this could backfire. Ofcom could use their powers to censor too much content, restricting freedom of speech and free content creation. In response to this, the government ensured it would use this power only to censor malicious and harmful content. They ensured their will be a code of violation that will be strictly enforced, but not to overdue their own powers.
The idea of content restrictions are welcomed all over the World. Giant tech companies such as Facebook welcome the idea of the government intervening to provide safe web browsing. However, other companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft suggest using artificial intelligence to weed out harmful content.