Online Safety Bill – is it a missed opportunity?

Date: 2nd February 2022
Category: Equal protection from violence, Protection of privacy, Bullying, Protection from abuse or neglect

image of a girl on laptop wiht a padlock behind her.

This Bill aims to tackle forms of illegal and harmful online content. However, according to a report by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, it is a missed opportunity as it does not tackle certain forms of content.

Part of the Bill’s duty of care is placed on large tech platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, ensuring that adults are protected from ‘legal but harmful content’. This catch-all term has been critiqued as being vague and thus impacting freedom of speech.

The Committee has concerns that the Bill does not address harmful things such as ‘breadcrumbing’ (which is when someone leaves a digital signposts for other digital users to find abusive content) and deepfake pornography. This is because they fall below the threshold of criminality and are still technically legal.

  • Read more about the drafted Online Safety Bill here.