Facebook and Twitter could be slapped with ‘troll tax’ in the UK

In an effort to curb trolling and online abuse

In a major clampdown on cyberbullying and trolling on social media websites, the UK government could hit Facebook and Twitter with a ‘troll tax’ if they do not reveal the scale of web dangers in the UK and work towards making the country the ‘safest place in the world’ be online.

The Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has published an Internet Safety Green Paper today where she calls on social media giants and service providers to take their responsibilities seriously and publish an annual report stating how online complaints were handled, the reported abuse that was pulled down, and steps taken to moderate bullying or offensive content about children, women, gay people or religions.

“One of the proposals is for an industry-wide levy so social-media companies and communication service providers contribute to raise awareness and counter internet harms,” the government statement read today.

While the internet had been an ‘amazing force for good’ Bradley says it has also caused undeniable suffering to children and vulnerable people: “We need an approach to the internet that protects everyone without restricting growth and innovation in the digital economy. Our ideas are ambitious — and rightly so.

Collaboratively, government, industry, parents and communities can keep citizens safe online, but only by working together,” the minister said.

Read related story: Leaders join Theresa May in call to curb ‘extremist ideologies’ online

The social media platforms must suggest alternatives to make Britain the “safest place in the world” to be online, the minister added.

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson has called the announcement ‘short on detail’ and said: “The Government needs to say more about who exactly will pay the proposed levy, how much they will pay and how it will be spent. And they need to explain what transparency information they will be asking social media companies to provide.”

Just months ago, UK prime minister Theresa May had challenged the technology giants firms to take down terrorist propaganda or face the threat of financial penalties.

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