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IAcKI

OFCOM to Regulate Social Media in the UK

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Sources:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51446665

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/02/11/social-media-sites-could-blocked-uk-ofcom-gets-job-policing/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ofcom-youtube-facebook-twitter-online-harms-regulation-law-a9330971.html

 

New powers will be given to the watchdog Ofcom to force social media firms to act over harmful content.

Until now, firms like Facebook, Tiktok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have largely been self-regulating.

The companies have defended their own rules about taking down unacceptable content, but critics say independent rules are needed to keep people safe.

It is unclear what penalties Ofcom will be able to enforce to target violence, cyber-bullying and child abuse.

There have been widespread calls for social media firms to take more responsibility for their content, especially after the death of Molly Russell who took her own life after viewing graphic content on Instagram.

Later on Wednesday, the government will officially announce the new powers for Ofcom - which currently only regulates the media, not internet safety - as part of its plans for a new legal duty of care.

Ofcom will have the power to make tech firms responsible for protecting people from harmful content such as violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse - and platforms will need to ensure that content is removed quickly.

They will also be expected to "minimise the risks" of it appearing at all.

 

Opinion:
Seems just another nail in the coffin of Internet freedom. How a board are going to be able to decide if something is offensive to people is beyond me. Seems old hats trying to make the internet like traditional media. OFCOM already remove adverts from air after very few complaints from 'career moaners'. All we can ope is they're a little more lenient when it comes to this regulation; only removing terrorism videos etc.


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I don't think this situation is unique to the UK, even if noises are bubbling up here currently. There will always be questions about how to moderate user submitted content sites. 

 

25 minutes ago, IAcKI said:

OFCOM already remove adverts from air after very few complaints from 'career moaners'. All we can ope is they're a little more lenient when it comes to this regulation; only removing terrorism videos etc.

OFCOM don't just act on the number of complaints, they act if they judge the rules on advertising have been broken.


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1 hour ago, porina said:

I don't think this situation is unique to the UK, even if noises are bubbling up here currently. There will always be questions about how to moderate user submitted content sites. 

 

OFCOM don't just act on the number of complaints, they act if they judge the rules on advertising have been broken.

It is the ASA, Advertising Standards Agency that do the adverts, not OFCOM. Hopefully OFCOM will get some powers, at least enough to grow a spine as they have been very lacking in the past.

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4 minutes ago, Phill104 said:

It is the ASA, Advertising Standards Agency that do the adverts, not OFCOM. Hopefully OFCOM will get some powers, at least enough to grow a spine as they have been very lacking in the past.

I got my agencies mixed up, but good point.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, Phill104 said:

It is the ASA, Advertising Standards Agency that do the adverts, not OFCOM. Hopefully OFCOM will get some powers, at least enough to grow a spine as they have been very lacking in the past.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/jul/19/advertising

 

It's always OFCOM who are banning the ads though?


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9 minutes ago, IAcKI said:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/jul/19/advertising

 

It's always OFCOM who are banning the ads though?

That was back in 2004, things have changed. While OFCOM can impose sanctions it is the ASA (An NGO) that do the initial bans etc. OFCOM step in if those bans are ignored as it then becomes a broadcasting breach, which is their remit.

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It won't be long until anything the government even slightly disagrees with will be judged as harmful and outright banned. Porn will be the first target and I'd bet everything I own on that.


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That title is misleading, as OFCOM will only be regulating social media under this change, not the entire Internet.

 

Honestly? I'm all for OFCOM regulating social media. I work in a school and I regularly take evidence from children's phones (yes, despite it being an 11-16 school and they're often referred to as students or young people...they are still children at the end of the day)...the stuff that I see is horrendous. The way they talk to each other and things they send each other. It's not just bullying, there's sexual content, weapons/gangs, racism (a whole lot of racism) and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Yes, these things happen offline too, however it's become so much easier to do and get away with online than in 'real life'. It needs to be regulated.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, chiller15 said:

That title is misleading, as OFCOM will only be regulating social media under this change, not the entire Internet.

 

Honestly? I'm all for OFCOM regulating social media. I work in a school and I regularly take evidence from children's phones (yes, despite it being an 11-16 school and they're often referred to as students or young people...they are still children at the end of the day)...the stuff that I see is horrendous. The way they talk to each other and things they send each other. It's not just bullying, there's sexual content, weapons/gangs, racism (a whole lot of racism) and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Yes, these things happen offline too, however it's become so much easier to do and get away with online than in 'real life'. It needs to be regulated.

But why do an agency get to decide what is 'harmful'? I'd be getting very worried as a comic etc and I imagine YouTube will get even trickier.
Noted about the title though.


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2 minutes ago, chiller15 said:

That title is misleading, as OFCOM will only be regulating social media under this change, not the entire Internet.

 

Honestly? I'm all for OFCOM regulating social media. I work in a school and I regularly take evidence from children's phones (yes, despite it being an 11-16 school and they're often referred to as students or young people...they are still children at the end of the day)...the stuff that I see is horrendous. The way they talk to each other and things they send each other. It's not just bullying, there's sexual content, weapons/gangs, racism (a whole lot of racism) and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Yes, these things happen offline too, however it's become so much easier to do and get away with online than in 'real life'. It needs to be regulated.

Well said. The bullying, often sexual in nature, that goes on in schools and persists outside on social media is quite frighting. From snapchat to fb, something needs to be done.. 

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Just now, IAcKI said:

But why do an agency get to decide what is 'harmful'? I'd be getting very worried as a comic etc and I imagine YouTube will get even trickier.
 

Because some companies are doing almost nothing to stop grooming, sale of harmful goods and sexual exploitation online even after it is reported. Just yesterday I was reading about Pornhub ignoring pleas from a 14yr old rape victim to have the video of her abuse by multiple rapists taken down. Clearly that is harmful for the victim and her family and friends. If the company will not do anything then they need to be slapped around the face until they bloody well do.

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1 minute ago, IAcKI said:

But why do an agency get to decide what is 'harmful'? I'd be getting very worried as a comic etc and I imagine YouTube will get even trickier.
Noted about the title though.

Because the companies aren't doing it themselves. If they won't control it, someone else will. Much like the way things like gambling are regulated by the government, look at the games industry at the moment. They fall in the legal grey area of not technically being gambling and the government is looking to change gambling law to encorporate it. Are the games companies regulating this themselves? No, they're just fueling the fire and making it worse because it makes them more money.

 

Whilst the negative aspects of social media and gambling are completely different, it does need to be controlled.


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23 minutes ago, chiller15 said:

That title is misleading, as OFCOM will only be regulating social media under this change, not the entire Internet.

 

Honestly? I'm all for OFCOM regulating social media. I work in a school and I regularly take evidence from children's phones (yes, despite it being an 11-16 school and they're often referred to as students or young people...they are still children at the end of the day)...the stuff that I see is horrendous. The way they talk to each other and things they send each other. It's not just bullying, there's sexual content, weapons/gangs, racism (a whole lot of racism) and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Yes, these things happen offline too, however it's become so much easier to do and get away with online than in 'real life'. It needs to be regulated.

For now. The government have already tried (and failed) to regulate porn under the guise of it being harmful to children. It starts out with small changes then over time those powers are expanded quietly.

 

Also can I just be clear, I'm not saying trying to protect children from harmful content is a bad thing because it really isn't. Unfortunately I've been around long enough (40 years in December) to have seen this type of thing before, remember the health & safety push that started in the mid nineties? Now kids can no longer play conkers or go out and play in snow while at school. Then there was PC in the 2000s, now we have SJWs, the feminist movement and white nationalists (who never really went away but now feel comfortable being in the spotlight).

 

These things always start out with good intentions (at least public facing) but they never end that way.


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24 minutes ago, chiller15 said:

That title is misleading, as OFCOM will only be regulating social media under this change, not the entire Internet.

 

Honestly? I'm all for OFCOM regulating social media. I work in a school and I regularly take evidence from children's phones (yes, despite it being an 11-16 school and they're often referred to as students or young people...they are still children at the end of the day)...the stuff that I see is horrendous. The way they talk to each other and things they send each other. It's not just bullying, there's sexual content, weapons/gangs, racism (a whole lot of racism) and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Yes, these things happen offline too, however it's become so much easier to do and get away with online than in 'real life'. It needs to be regulated.

Agreed that those are horrible things and change is needed.

 

However, those things are already against the terms of service of those services. No need for an extra board about it. Also a lot can be traced to back to bad parenting or not making enough time for their kids. Parents are still responsible for kids that age. I would rather see a ban on a lot of those services for kids that age. Would be in my opinion a better attempt at a solution.

 

I just turned 24 I grew up at the same time smartphones and social media were developed. My first phone could only call and text, and it was expensive to do. And I'm still glad that I grew up that way, I could communicate if needed. But didn't waste my childhood/teenage years online.

 

yes everything changes. But I don't see why an eight year old should be running around with a 500 dollar/pond/euro phone with unlimited texts/calls/data. 

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5 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

For now. The government have already tried (and failed) to regulate porn under the guise of it being harmful to children. It starts out with small changes then over time those powers are expanded quietly.

 

Also can I just be clear, I'm not saying trying to protect children from harmful content is a bad thing because it really isn't. Unfortunately I've been around long enough (40 years in December) to have seen this type of thing before, remember the health & safety push that started in the mid nineties? Now kids can no longer play conkers or go out and play in snow while at school. Then there was PC in the 2000s, now we have SJWs, the feminist movement and white nationalists (who never really went away but now feel comfortable being in the spotlight).

 

These things always start out with good intentions (at least public facing) but they never end that way.

I know what you mean, although I personally think that porn is less damaging than social media. I cannot emphasise enough how bad it actually is. Probably 90% of our safeguarding cases are related to social media, which just wasn't an issue even 10 years ago.

 

5 minutes ago, LeSheen said:

Agreed that those are horrible things and change is needed.

 

However, those things are already against the terms of service of those services. No need for an extra board about it. Also a lot can be traced to back to bad parenting or not making enough time for their kids. Parents are still responsible for kids that age. I would rather see a ban on a lot of those services for kids that age. Would be in my opinion a better attempt at a solution.

 

I just turned 24 I grew up at the same time smartphones and social media were developed. My first phone could only call and text, and it was expensive to do. And I'm still glad that I grew up that way, I could communicate if needed. But didn't waste my childhood/teenage years online.

 

yes everything changes. But I don't see why an eight year old should be running around with a 500 dollar/pond/euro phone with unlimited texts/calls/data. 

Whilst I do agree that least some of this is down to 'bad parenting', that excuse is not a valid solution. We have 11 year olds playing GTA, which is rated at 18. Bans don't work if the parents don't enforce them. So what? Should we just let the children call each other everything under the sun? Use racisism, encourage others to commit suicide, take drugs, stab someone for £500? Those are just some of the sorts of things that I'm witnessing. Passing the blame onto the parents will NOT stop this.


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4 minutes ago, chiller15 said:

I know what you mean, although I personally think that porn is less damaging than social media. I cannot emphasise enough how bad it actually is. Probably 90% of our safeguarding cases are related to social media, which just wasn't an issue even 10 years ago.

Until a few years ago I actually worked with Children myself. In my case it was primary age so social media wasn't a really big problem but most people would be surprised by how often it did become an issue for kids who aren't legally old enough to even have accounts.

 

7 minutes ago, chiller15 said:

Whilst I do agree that least some of this is down to 'bad parenting', that excuse is not a valid solution. We have 11 year olds playing GTA, which is rated at 18. Bans don't work if the parents don't enforce them. So what? Should we just let the children call each other everything under the sun? Use racisism, encourage others to commit suicide, take drugs, stab someone for £500? Those are just some of the sorts of things that I'm witnessing. Passing the blame onto the parents will NOT stop this.

I have to disagree. Part of the reason our manager decided to shut down (it was an out of school club) was because she realised that a lot of the kids were beyond help exactly because of their parents. We had a 5 year old boy who would grab everyone and anyone by the genitals (staff, teachers, other kids, parents, male or female), mum tried so hard to stop him and then it came out that his dad was teaching him to do it. I watched a parent come into school to collect her son, so drunk that she couldn't even stand, punch the deputy head in the face because she refused to allow her to take her child. We had a mum come into school to collect an 8 year old boy holding a copy of GTA V in her hand. One girl used to come and eat toast with us every morning (despite not even being a member of the club) because her dad would give her a can of squirty cream for breakfast every day. We had an 11 year old boy who was arrested for dealing cannabis to high school children after school for his older brother and dad. There's one more I'd love to share but if I did I would probably get banned.

 

Unfortunately it is the parents fault and as a care provider you have to understand, you can never make a difference as long as they're going home to no rules or boundries..


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2 minutes ago, Master Disaster said:

Until a few years ago I actually worked with Children myself. In my case it was primary age so social media wasn't a really big problem but most people would be surprised by how often it did become an issue for kids who aren't legally old enough to even have accounts.

 

I have to disagree. Part of the reason our manager decided to shut down (it was an out of school club) was because she realised that a lot of the kids were beyond help exactly because of their parents. We had a 5 year old boy who would grab everyone and anyone by the genitals (staff, teachers, other kids, parents, male or female), mum tried so hard to stop him and then it came out that his dad was teaching him to do it. I watched a parent come into school to collect her son, so drunk that she couldn't even stand, punch the deputy head in the face because she refused to allow her to take her child. We had a mum come into school to collect an 8 year old boy holding a copy of GTA V in her hand. One girl used to come and eat toast with us every morning (despite not even being a member of the club) because her dad would give her a can of squirty cream for breakfast every day. We had an 11 year old boy who was arrested for dealing cannabis to high school children after school for his older brother and dad. There's one more I'd love to share but if I did I would probably get banned.

 

Unfortunately it is the parents fault and as a care provider you have to understand, you can never make a difference as long as they're going home to no rules or boundries..

I don't disagree with you, however not doing anything and blaming the parents isn't going to fix the problem either. However it will hopefully improve the overall negative impact that social media has on children.


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Just now, chiller15 said:

I don't disagree with you, however not doing anything and blaming the parents isn't going to fix the problem either. However it will hopefully improve the overall negative impact that social media has on children.

That's the exact kind of attitude that's needed right now.


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23 minutes ago, chiller15 said:

I know what you mean, although I personally think that porn is less damaging than social media. I cannot emphasise enough how bad it actually is. Probably 90% of our safeguarding cases are related to social media, which just wasn't an issue even 10 years ago.

 

Whilst I do agree that least some of this is down to 'bad parenting', that excuse is not a valid solution. We have 11 year olds playing GTA, which is rated at 18. Bans don't work if the parents don't enforce them. So what? Should we just let the children call each other everything under the sun? Use racisism, encourage others to commit suicide, take drugs, stab someone for £500? Those are just some of the sorts of things that I'm witnessing. Passing the blame onto the parents will NOT stop this.

Read my answer again...

I started off with saying those things are already against the TOS. We don't need more regulations. We just need them enforced.

 

I'm not solely blaming the parents. But according to the law their children under the age of 18 are still their resposibility. So if you cannot guarantee that they behave online then you should do anything in your power to restrict their access.

 

I know it is more nuanced then this black and white picture I just painted.

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1 minute ago, LeSheen said:

Read my answer again...

I started off with saying those things are already against the TOS. We don't need more regulations. We just need them enforced.

 

I'm not solely blaming the parents. But according to the law their children under the age of 18 are still their resposibility. So if you cannot guarantee that they behave online then you should do anything in your power to restrict their access.

 

I know it is more nuanced then this black and white picture I just painted.

Yes it's against the TOS, but the only actions available to social media companies is to suspend or ban users. This isn't solving the problem though, as users will make new accounts. However this regulation would actually hold these massive organisations accountable and subject to financial repercusions if they fall foul of them. This would make them more likely to develop solutions that can help detect/prevent these sorts of posts or interactions from happening. I don't know how, especially with end-to-end encrypted apps, however we can't juse sit back and do nothing.


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Interesting!

I was just watching some videos about this last night about massive youtube channels like 5min crafts or So yummy (both of which i wasn't really aware of till then).

These channels spam misinformation and fake 'hacks' that are potentially very dangerous and they are pretty much totally unregulated.

As an example, one video suggests that people put strawberries in bleach to whiten them... or to use hot glue as a toothpaste or something.

 

Sure there's the whole 'freedom' thing, but content like this is clearly just being made to get clicks and ad revenue and there's no challenge as to the negative impact is has on people or childrens safety.... or everyone else in the worlds sanity.

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1 hour ago, Master Disaster said:

For now. The government have already tried (and failed) to regulate porn under the guise of it being harmful to children. It starts out with small changes then over time those powers are expanded quietly.

 

Also can I just be clear, I'm not saying trying to protect children from harmful content is a bad thing because it really isn't. Unfortunately I've been around long enough (40 years in December) to have seen this type of thing before, remember the health & safety push that started in the mid nineties? Now kids can no longer play conkers or go out and play in snow while at school. Then there was PC in the 2000s, now we have SJWs, the feminist movement and white nationalists (who never really went away but now feel comfortable being in the spotlight).

 

These things always start out with good intentions (at least public facing) but they never end that way.

The H&S thing was really over-hyped by the media and used as political leverage. The truth of the matter is that most H&S rules have been not understood here, or deliberately miss-interpreted. Fear of insurance companies has been a big driver of this and that is what happened in the conker case. There are actually no laws stopping schools playing conkers, just fear of litigation, same with playing in the snow. Most schools still allow both, if it was the case laws prevented it none would do so.

 

The same I fear will happen with this current change in powers being granted to OFCOM. A lot of it is to gain political leverage, but our gutter press will make a lot more of it over the next few days/weeks. Mark my words, they will spread fear just to sell their filthy rags.

 

I really hope some good will come of this though. I have seen my daughters go through bullying, and been shown some of the things that social media sites and apps are failing to stamp down on. While some will say that is the job of the parents, social media and computer access is so commonplace now it is almost impossible to monitor children. So at some point we need regulation.

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20 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Ahh yes, the biggest nanny state in the world, the UK, want to regulate what people say online.

I am not surprised in the slightest. And of course "think of the children" is the main argument.

I am sure a lot of the world get that impression. However, a lot of it is perpetrated by the scum that call themselves newspapers here. Really, some spread hope and fear just to sell newspapers. Actual reporting is no longer the norm, instead they spout bile and hatred as well as complete lies.Seriously, we have some of the worst press on the planet for this and it gives an impression to the rest of the world that is simply not true. 

 

In this case should we allow sites showing rape, abuse, paedophilia, racial hatred, advice on how to be a better bully? I certainly hope in the future the worst of these can be weeded out.

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If you want protection or change, you'll almost never get it if you just rely on others and do jack all for yourself.

 

Just saying


Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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