UK Wants To Regulate Social Media Companies And The ‘Wild West’ Internet

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Kyle Perisic Contributor
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The U.K. will introduce laws in the coming years to combat the “Wild West elements of the Internet” like cyberbullying and child exploitation, Digital Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday.

“[W]e’ll bring in new laws to make Britain the safest place to be online,” he said in a tweet on Sunday.

The U.K. said it will partner with tech companies and nonprofits to develop new regulations “in the next couple of years” requiring social media sites like Facebook to come up with new codes of conduct against what they deem inappropriate behavior.

Some of the policies might include forcing parents to confirm that their children are old enough to use social media and the companies could be fined up to 4 percent of their global turnover if they don’t comply, Bloomberg reported.

Although Hancock said he wants to fight serious crimes like child exploitation online, he also told ITV, “I don’t want the trolls to win.” (RELATED: Apparently Facebook Can Stop Hate Speech, But Not Terrorist Propaganda)

The U.K. convicted a man of being “grossly offensive” in March after he posted a satirical video on YouTube of his dog giving a Nazi salute. While the man who posted the video, Markus Meechan, known on YouTube as “Count Dankula,” ended up getting a fine on April 23 — which he’s currently appealing — he could’ve been imprisoned for up to a year.

The YouTube video, titled “M8, yer dugs a Nazi,” begins by saying he wanted to troll his girlfriend because she’s “always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable” her dog is so he turned the dog into “the least cute thing” he could think of, “which is a Nazi.”

“Digital technology is overwhelmingly a force for good across the world and we must always champion innovation and change for the better. At the same time I have been clear that we have to address the Wild West elements of the Internet through legislation, in a way that supports innovation. We strongly support technology companies to start up and grow, and we want to work with them to keep our citizens safe,” Hancock said in the press release.

“People increasingly live their lives through online platforms so it’s more important than ever that people are safe and parents can have confidence they can keep their children from harm. The measures we’re taking forward today will help make sure children are protected online and balance the need for safety with the great freedoms the internet brings just as we have to strike this balance offline.”

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