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LONDON — The U.K. government is considering limiting people’s anonymity online as part of a drive to clean up the internet — a change that could upend the social media landscape as we know it.
Digital Minister Margot James said the freedom to be anonymous has been abused in “such a substantial way, with such damaging effects,” referring to the volume of racism, anti-Semitism and bullying across the internet, that curbs are being considered as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s online safety proposals due to be published later this year.
A proposed code of practice, which could be underpinned by legislation, is likely to break down “what is and isn’t acceptable online."
We believe that it is right for Government to set out clear standards for social media
platforms, and to hold them to account if they fail to live up to these.
Online platforms need to take responsibility for the content they host. They need to
proactively tackle harmful behaviours and content. Progress has been made in removing
illegal content, particularly terrorist material, but more needs to be done to reduce the
amount of damaging content online, legal and illegal.
The Green Paper asked for views on a social media levy that would support greater public
awareness of online safety and enable preventative measures to counter internet harms,
including both new initiatives and existing programmes.
The code is intended to make it easier for people to report bullying content by providing
guidance to social media providers as to policies they should have in place for removing this
content. The Digital Economy Act 2017 section 103 sets out that the code of practice should
only cover conduct which is directed towards an individual. However, we have set out
additional guidance, not required under section 103, stating that the code of practice should
also apply to conduct directed at groups and businesses, as users can be upset by content
even if it’s not directed towards them individually.
Examples of online bullying that will be addressed by the code include, but are not limited to:
• Threats of harm made to individual(s);
• Threats to share images (‘outing’);
• Posting personal information including information that can locate an individual(s);
• Posting text or images to bully, insult, intimidate or humiliate an individual(s);
• Posting an image of the individual(s) used without consent;
• Posting false information about someone;
• Nasty or upsetting comments;
• Sending repeated unwanted messages to an individual(s);
• Trolling - deliberately offensive or provocative online posts;
• Flaming - brief, heated exchange between two or more people;
• Dog-piling - where large communities of people target abuse at a single individual.
UK digital minister
Now you can't have privacy in the internet...
Microchippin and tracking its residents?