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Responding to the statement by the government on the Online Harms Bill, Debbie Abrahams MP, a member of the Stop The Hate coalition - the campaign led by Compassion in Politics, More United, Centenary Action Group and the Women’s Institute - and Co-Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Compassionate Politics, said:
“Today’s announcement shows the government is failing to use the Online Harms Bill to tackle the grave and pernicious scourge of online hate. While I welcome the net being closed on those who use the web to share child sexual content and terrorist material, the hate speech, bullying and harassment that many people face by virtue of their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, is unacceptable and will be left largely untouched.
“The new duty of care must be extended to include these kinds of harm and the definition should be set by the government - in consultation with expert groups - not by tech companies. Allowing these companies to come up with their own definition of harm represents an abdication of responsibility by the government and leaves social media companies to decide the rules they get to play by.
“In addition, today’s announcement completely failed to put any obligation on newspapers to regulate the content of user responses on their websites, leaving them with no responsibility for the hate that’s shared on their profitable platforms."
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