Social media policing in “next couple of years”

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The launch of a campaign to clamp down on social media firms has got off to a rocky start, as the culture secretary, Matt Hancock, admitted it was likely to be two years before there was any new law.

In a round of media interviews, Hancock said there was no date for legislation, but it would be in the “next couple of years”, adding he was launching a consultation document ahead of a white paper in the autumn.

Hancock also admitted that when he called in representatives of 14 leading internet companies to discuss his ideas, only four turned up.

Speaking to the BBC he said: “The fact that only four turned up gave me a big impetus to drive this legislation through. Until now there’s been this argument: work with the companies, do it on a voluntary basis, you’ll do more that way because the lawyers won’t be involved.”

Hancock said self-policing had not worked and legislation was needed. He said that the government “just don’t know” how many children of the millions using social media were not old enough for an account and he was “very worried” about age verification.


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