UK authorities may appoint internet ombudsman to deal with complaints about online hate crimes

UK authorities are considering the appointment of an internet ombudsman to deal with complaints about online hate crimes, the media reported on 23 August.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

An internet ombudsman would deal with complaints about illegal online material, such as abuse and violent threats made on social media, while a levy on social media companies, first proposed in the Conservative Party's election manifesto, would raise funds to help with the rising costs of online enforcement, reports The Guardian.

The initiative follows a pledge by Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, to crack down on illegal abuse and threats spread via the internet.

She said hate crimes committed online should be treated on par with threats made face to face. The idea of an internet ombudsman is already being developed in France and Australia.

Each country is creating an agency to act as an independent body that will mediate between members of the public and social media firms. Technology firms have long come under fire for not doing enough to stop the spread of hate speech, the Guardian reported.

Twitter said it was taking action against 10 times the number of abusive accounts a day compared to a year ago while YouTube has turned to artificial intelligence in an effort to remove extremist content more quickly, doubling the rate of removal compared with human-only systems.

Social media giant Facebook has also taken action against hate speech, removing groups, pages and actively silencing links that lead to hate sites.

Updated Date: Aug 23, 2017 09:15 AM