"Long overdue" social media regulations should include digital citizenship education

Regulation of social media companies is "long overdue" with a new approach needed that brings together competition policy, data, design, law enforcement, and child protection, according to a new report, published today.

The House of Lords Communication and Digital Committee report - 'Free for all? Freedom of expression in the digital age' - argues that the government's draft Online Safety Bill must ensure illegal content is removed to a strict timeline but criticises its proposals to introduce duties on legal but potentially harmful content. Instead, the report calls for new regulations to include provisions for digital citizenship education. 

The report describes the small monopoly of social media platforms as "guided by concern[s] for their commercial and political interests rather than the rights and wellbeing of their users" which curtail freedom of expression by amplifying certain types of content over others.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
The online world is dominated by a small number of powerful organisations and legislators have long considered how regulation can effectively be introduced to keep pace with the speed of change and in a way that doesn't restrict freedom of speech. What takes place online impacts people offline and the Online Safety Bill is a unique opportunity to address concerns about the very real harms experienced. The principle in this report to encourage a joined-up approach to regulation is a welcome one and one we would encourage the government to commit to.
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

The CIPR has previously cautiously welcomed moves to introduce legislation on social media companies. 


About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).