Social media bosses could be ‘held accountable for harmful content’ under new government plans

Social media could reportedly be personally for harmful content published online under new .

Ministers will legislate for a new “duty of care” to be policed by an independent regulator, according to the proposals leaked to The Guardian. The watchdog will have powers to impose substantial fines for breaches by companies and hold executives personally liable, the newspaper reported.

The plans are expected to be published in a long-awaited Government White Paper on online harm next week.

“We will shortly publish a White Paper which will set out the responsibilities of online platforms, how these responsibilities should be met and what would happen if they are not,” a government spokesman said. “We have heard calls for an internet regulator and to place a statutory ‘duty of care’ on platforms, and have seriously considered all options.”

It comes amid mounting pressure on media companies to reform and accept new regulation following high-profile criticism of the industry.

A wide range of reports and experts have called for tighter rules, while the case of teenager Molly Russell highlighted the danger of harmful content online.

She was found to have viewed content linked to self-harm and suicide on Instagram before taking her own life in 2017.

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