UK calls on social media platforms to find and remove Russian propaganda

Changes to UK internet safety laws will mean social media platforms will have to proactively look and remove disinformation harmful to the UK from foreign state actors.

This was reported by CyberNews, adding that the changes will hope to ‘minimise people’s exposure to state-sponsored or state-linked disinformation’.

As part of the change, a new Foreign Interference Offence created by the National Security Bill will be added to the list of priority offenses in the Online Safety Bill. Social media platforms, search engines and other applications that enable people to post content will be required to take a proactive approach to identify and remove misinformation aimed at interfering with the UK.

In addition, tech firms will be required to deal with information posted by individuals and groups on behalf of foreign states and aimed at impacting elections and court proceedings.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries said, “The invasion of Ukraine has yet again shown how readily Russia can and will weaponize social media to spread disinformation and lies about its barbaric actions, often targeting the very victims of its aggression. We cannot allow foreign states or their puppets to use the internet to conduct hostile online warfare unimpeded.”

Former UK security minister Damian Hinds added that companies will need to implement proportionate systems and processes to mitigate the possibility of users encountering illegal content under the Foreign Interference Offense.

He said, “This could include measures such as making it more difficult to create large-scale fake accounts or tackling the use of bots in malicious disinformation campaigns. When moderating their sites, the firms will need to make judgments about the intended effect of content or behavior they have reasonable grounds to believe state-sponsored disinformation and whether it amounts to misrepresentation.”

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