The UK Online Safety Act (2023) has received Royal Assent in UK Parliament and is intended to make the UK the safest place to be online. This law mandates social media platforms to take legal responsibility for preventing and removing illegal and harmful content, such as terrorism, revenge pornography, child sexual abuse, and bullying. Ofcom, the regulator, will enforce the rules and penalise tech companies that fail to comply, imposing fines and criminal sanctions. Additionally, Ofcom will set new standards for online safety and transparency.

The Act prioritises the protection of children by requiring platforms to remove harmful and age-inappropriate content, enforcing age limits, and publishing risk assessments. The Act also empowers adults to have more control over what they see online, by ensuring platforms respect their terms and conditions and offer options to filter out unwanted content. The Act also strengthens protections against violence towards women and girls, with laws against sharing intimate images without consent (including deep fakes), and making it easier to prosecute offenders.

Platforms that do not comply with these rules could face fines of up to £18 million or 10% of their global annual revenue, whichever is greater. This means that the biggest platforms could face penalties amounting to billions of pounds.


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