Labor offers ‘legal duty of care’ to social media companies to end scams


Labor is reportedly blaming social media companies for scams hosted on their platforms as part of proposals to protect families from online fraud.

The party said the government was putting the public at risk by not including online scams as part of the upcoming online safety bill.

Labor has said it will impose a “legal duty of due diligence appropriate and effective on social media companies regarding what they host on their platforms.”

Shadow’s digital, culture and media secretary Jo Stevens will tell the Labor conference on Sunday that this would apply not only to scams, but also to “increasing levels of child abuse, self-harm and suicidal content, dangerous anti-vax misinformation, discrimination, hate speech and more ”.

She will say, “We have an epidemic of online scams. But the government refuses to include the protection of people in this bill.

Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert reportedly backed the idea (Kirsty O’Connor / PA)

“Activist Martin Lewis demanded it, victims demanded it, City of London police demanded it, but the Tories say no – denying the ability to protect the public and defending the crooks instead.

“Well, Labor will do what the Conservative government will not do.

“Labor will build a broad coalition in Parliament for better legislation that protects people from crooks.

“This places a legal duty of proper and effective due diligence on social media companies regarding what they host on their platforms. And unlike the government, we will fight for criminal penalties for senior tech executives who repeatedly break the new law. “

Labor said last year £ 2.3 billion was lost to online fraud and scams affecting hundreds of thousands of families, with 413,553 cases reported.

He said online fraud increased by up to 70% during the pandemic as families turned to online shopping and banking, and fraudsters’ most common tactic was to set up fake websites, mobile applications or advertisements on social networks.

Social media stock
A view of the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook apps on an iPhone screen (Matthew Vincent / PA)

Ms Stevens will add: “We have a weak and watered-down online safety bill four years after the Conservatives promised legislation that does not even fulfill the fundamental duty of government – keeping its citizens safe.

“Large social media companies have not been vetted and unregulated, while their platforms harbor increasing levels of child abuse, self-harm and suicide, dangerous anti-vax misinformation, discrimination, hate speech and more. And these companies are making a lot of money.

“The Conservatives’ bill forces businesses to self-regulate. To mark their own homework. And good tech companies recognize that we need clear regulation. We will continue to work with them to make our lives safer online. Especially for children.


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