Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are facing a regulatory clampdown in the UK, as the government readies a plan to hand broadcasting watchdog Ofcom powers to fine tech giants for hosting harmful content.
Reports in The Telegraph suggest that the beefed-up regulator will be tasked with clamping down on video-sharing platforms e by intervening in instances where businesses have failed in their responsibilities to establish robust parental controls and age verification checks to protect children from the worst elements of the web.
Those who fall foul of Ofcom could find themselves on the receiving end of fines set at up to 5% of total revenues as well as face the prospect of having their British operations suspended or restricted if no remedial action is taken.
The UK government has been steadily hardening its stance against the social media sector amid growing alarm at the pernicious impact of online harm upon impressionable children with the new powers set to take effect from September 2020.
The latest plans come ahead of the launch of a White Paper which will set out a statutory duty of care among social media firms to minimise online harm, publicised in recent months by high-profile cases such as the suicide of 14-year-old Molly Russell.