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U.K. Plans to Fine Big Tech Companies for Racist Abuse

big tech, uk, ley libertad de expresion

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In an unexpected twist, the UK Government wants to be more woke than Big Tech themselves. Culture and Media Secretary Oliver Dowden said that if Silicon Valley companies do not impose stricter limitations on “racist abuse,” the UK will seek to regulate them through the country’s broadcasting institution, the Office of Communications (Ofcom).

If social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter fail to tackle “racist trolls” they will suffer billions of pounds in fines, the secretary warned. The move comes after England footballer Marcus Rashford said he had seen “humanity and social media at its worst” over abuse on Instagram.

The culture portfolio representative, who has met with footballers including Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings to discuss the problem, told TalkSport radio, “It’s perfectly reasonable for players to engage with social media. But they were telling me the price of that is racist abuse.”

Consequently, Secretary Dowden promised that the government would “clean up the whole environment,” referring to regulations against Big Tech. Under the planned laws, reports the Mail, if tech companies fail to tackle abusive content, regulator Ofcom will be able to fine them up to 10% of global turnover.

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Big Tech would face hefty fines if they do not suppress racism on their platforms. (Photo: Flickr)

The British secretary said the move would “make their owners sit up and take notice, we’re talking billions of pounds.” These new laws mean that Big Tech will not only be facing fines for their persecution of ordinary citizens exercising their freedom of speech, but they will also be fined for not being progressive enough for the British government.

This will reinforce in the UK the censorship of Big Tech, which in most cases is ambiguous about “hate speech.” Under this Online Harm Act, tech companies will be under a legal duty of care to their users.

Dowden said of Big Tech and its capabilities that they “need to up their game and must not allow racist abuse to spread on platforms, and if they don’t, they will face the consequences.”

This law, the Mail argues, “could even have the power to impose criminal sanctions on executives.” But Secretary Dowden stated “I don’t want to use that power. If we feel that the other range of measures we are taking are not effective enough, we reserve the right to impose criminal sanctions.”

However, a recent case in the United Kingdom demonstrates that the British government does have a racial preference in dealing with crimes occurring in the country, biased to the detriment of white citizens. In Rochdale, Greater Manchester, a young man who had his hand chopped off and three of his friends were abused by a mob. Furthermore, the group that committed the crime called the victims “white bastards” who were in their “country” was also not treated as racially motivated.

In stark contrast, Poland and Hungary have sought to ensure their citizens’ freedom of expression in the face of Big Tech. On the Polish side, the government introduced a bill aimed at defending freedom of expression on social networks. The bill, called the “law for the freedom to express opinions and obtain and disseminate information on the Internet,” will provide a legal basis for users to appeal against censorship measures such as banning or deletion of content by Big Tech.

Rafael Valera, Venezuelan, student of Political Science, political exile in São Paulo, Brazil since 2017 // Rafael Valera, venezolano, es estudiante de Ciencias Políticas y exiliado político en São Paulo, Brasil desde 2017

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