ARTICLE 19 has responded to leaked reports about the UK White Paper on online harms.
Executive Director, Thomas Hughes, said:
“While social media companies could do more to address incitement to violence, child sexual exploitation and other problematic content on their platforms, the Government must not create an environment that encourages the censorship of legitimate expression.”
“ARTICLE 19 strongly opposes any ‘duty of care’ being imposed on Internet platforms. We believe a duty of care would inevitably require them to proactively monitor their networks and take a restrictive approach to content removal. Such actions could violate individuals’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy.”
“However, ARTICLE 19 agrees that platforms must be more transparent and accountable about their content moderation practices and about how they remove or profile certain content. We also call for users to have the right to appeal the decisions that platforms make.”
“ARTICLE 19 believes that regulation can be best achieved through independent self-regulation that is overseen by a new independent and multi-stakeholder body. ”
Social Media Councils
ARTICLE 19 has proposed that the regulation of online content is overseen by a Social Media Council (SMC). This would be an independent, transparent and accountable body that brings together the tech industry, media, academics, and human rights experts. It would also include civil society organisation that represent the UK public, and particularly vulnerable and marginalised groups. A new body should apply international standards on freedom of expression to the oversight of content moderation decisions and practices. Such a mechanism could also function alongside a co-regulatory system for transparency and accountability of platforms, as being proposed in some countries. ARTICLE 19 is currently working with international experts and stakeholders on the finalisation of the SMC model, with the intention of publishing it for wider consultation in the coming weeks.
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Notes to Editor
ARTICLE 19 is a freedom of expression organisation that campaign for a world where all people everywhere can freely express themselves and actively engage in public life without fear of discrimination.
Read more information about Social Media Councils.
ARTICLE 19’s proposal for Social Media Councils was supported by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression in his April 2018 report.