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Ofcom could fine video-sharing apps

August 12, 2019

UK government is considering giving Ofcom powers to fine video-sharing apps and websites.The proposal would mean Ofcom could impose multi-million pound fines if the platforms have failed to prevent youngsters seeing pornography, violence and other harmful material.

The regulator would take charge of the matter from September 19th 2020. The move is to meet the UK’s obligations under the EU AVMSD [Audiovisual Media Services Directive]but may not be required if Brexit occurs in October. In any event it would only be an interim measure until a separate online harms regulator was appointed at a later date.

“The implementation of the AVMSD [Audiovisual Media Services Directive] is required as part of the United Kingdom’s obligations arising from its membership of the European Union and until the UK formally leaves the European Union all of its obligations remain in force,” said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The proposal, according to the Telegraph, was “quietly” agreed before Parliament’s summer break and would give Ofcom the power to fine tech firms up to 5 per cent of their revenues and/or block them in the UK if they failed to comply with its rulings.

The watchdog has said that it is ready to adopt the powers. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat have not commented.

TechUK – the industry group that represents the sector – said it hoped that ministers would take a “balanced and proportionate approach” to the issue. “Key to achieving this will be clear and precise definitions across the board, and a proportionate sanctions and compliance regime.”

The Internet Association added that it hoped any intervention would be proportionate.

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