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Online Safety: Our Submission To Key Parliamentary Committee

22 09 21

Key Takeaways

1
For years, civil society organisations including HOPE not hate have done vital work on pressuring tech companies to take greater action to reduce harm online. However, it has long been clear that these dangers also require a regulatory solution.
2
The division between the online and offline worlds is often a false one. All too often what happens online has a huge impact on the personal lives of individuals, but also on our streets and within our communities.
3
From the comfort and safety of their own homes, far-right activists can engage in politics online. The fact that this can all be done anonymously hugely lowers the social cost of activism.
4
Legislation is not just an opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of hostile and prejudiced online behaviour but also a chance to engage in a society-wide discussion about the sort of internet we do want.
5
It is not enough to merely find ways to ban or suppress negative behaviour; we have to find a way to encourage and support positive online cultures.

The Government recently published its draft Online Safety Bill. An important committee of MPs is looking at the proposals, and taking evidence from experts in the field.

HOPE not hate has now made a submission to MPs, and our team is following up with meetings with MPs to press our case.

This legislation is not just an opportunity to reduce the negative impacts of hostile and prejudiced online behaviour but also a chance to engage in a society-wide discussion about the sort of internet we do want.

The bottom line is that it is not enough to merely find ways to ban or suppress negative behaviour; we have to find a way to encourage and support positive online cultures.

The companies in the scope of the online safety legislation occupy central roles in the public sphere today, providing key forums through which public debate occurs. It is vital that they ensure that the health of discussions is not undermined by those who spread hate and division.

We will be continuing to press our case for effective rules – with meetings, with evidence, and if need be by mobilising our supporters to make the case direct to MPs.

Download the full submission

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