UK government plans to ban misogyny on social media with ‘online safety’ law

The UK government is reportedly considering a move to force social media companies to ban online misogyny as part of the pending Online Safety Bill.

Long-awaited legislation to introduce even more restrictions on online speech in Britain could be amended to allow Britain’s broadcasting regulator to fine online companies up to 10% of their global revenue if they fail to properly control allegedly misogynistic content on their sites.

The measure, which is being pushed by a group of Tory (Conservative) party peers including David Cameron’s former aide Baroness Bertin, Baroness Morgan and Baroness Newlove, has also won backing from the left-leaning Labor Party, The telegraph reported.

While Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan would argue that the misogyny amendment is unnecessary, as she believes the current form of the bill already allows the government to censor such content, if the Labor continued to support the Tory peers’ measure, the government may have to acquiesce or face defeat of the bill in the House of Lords.

The push to ban alleged misogyny came in response to the government’s decision to remove a controversial provision from legislation that would have required social media sites to police vaguely defined ‘legal but harmful’ content, which many have warned it would further hamper freedom of expression in the country.

One of the amendment’s supporters, former women’s minister Baroness Morgan, argued that online abuse hinders women’s ability to speak out, asking: “What about the right to access and participate online without being abused and harassed?

“There will be specific criminal offenses in the bill, but they don’t address the misogyny that has grown not only on small, high-risk platforms, but also on mainstream platforms,” ​​he said. she complains.

The former women’s minister cited rape threats and death threats that are “very much directed at women because they are women and girls” as examples of statements that “do not necessarily breach the illegal threshold “, although both are clearly criminal offenses in the United States. Kingdom already.

“Women are abused daily online. It’s a Wild West and women are disproportionately affected by it,” Bertin claimed, without evidence.

Although a common topic of discussion, studies have found that women are actually not “disproportionately” the targets of online harassment.

Indeed, a study by polling firm Pew last year found that while women receive more sexually abusive comments, men are more likely to be physically threatened online.

The study also found that men are more likely to experience any form of harassment and are more likely to be called offensive insults.

A 2017 study of some 840,000 tweets by the University of Sheffield also found that UK male politicians were more likely to be the target of abusive messages online than female politicians, with male Tory candidates most likely. to be harassed.

Commenting on the proposed measure to ban misogyny, political commentator Emma Webb said that she finds “the idea that women are so fragile that they need to be protected from hurtful words extremely misogynistic”.

“The implication is that women, psychologically speaking, are vulnerable like children. These seem to be people who don’t think we’re physically the weaker sex. [and] we need physical protection, but think we are the weaker sex mentally,” the specialist added to GB News.

Baroness Claire Fox said she would oppose the measure, noting the possibility that such legislation could be used to protect women politicians and public figures from criticism.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button