In 2018, the British Government, under the direction of the Home Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, set up a national security communications unit with the task ‘combating disinformation by the state actors and others’.
The Code of Practice for social media platforms released in April 2019 calls for online providers to maintain a clear and accessible reporting process to enable users to notify the social media provider of harmful conduct; maintain efficient processes for dealing with notifications from users about harmful conduct; have clear and accessible information about reporting processes in their terms and conditions, and give clear information to the public about action they take against harmful conduct. Online Harms White Paper adopted by the UK Government puts forward the plans for a new system of accountability and oversight for tech companies, moving beyond self-regulation.
A new regulatory framework for online safety outlines clear private sector responsibilities to keep UK users, particularly children, safer online with the most robust action to counter illegal content and activity. This will be overseen by an independent regulator that will set clear safety standards backed up by reporting requirements and effective enforcement powers.
The Government published its initial response to the consultation on its Online Harms White Paper in in February 2020. It was announced in Septemer of 2020 that a final consultation on the White Paper would be published in the year, with the aim of beginning legislation in 2021.