UK’s New Internet Law Wants Search Engines to Tackle Disinformation

06 July 2022
by Archie Williamson
1 min
UK’s New Internet Law Wants Search Engines to Tackle Disinformation

Search engines and social media sites will be required to tackle “state-sponsored disinformation” in the UK as part of a new online safety bill.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announced on Monday that the new laws will target any content that interferes with the UK, such as recent videos published by Russian hoaxers.

The onus will be on any platforms like Google that host their own content to proactively root out and block disinformation backed by overseas governments or risk significant financial penalties.

The law will enable Ofcom to impose fines of up to 10% of a platform owner’s global turnover.

Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, said internet laws were being strengthened to limit the effects of “hostile online warfare”.

It means search engines and social media platforms will have a legal duty to remove content and limit users’ exposure to disinformation.

Security Minister Damian Hinds called on “big online platforms” to do more to clamp down on content that is deemed to be disruptive.

He added: “Disinformation is often seeded by multiple fake personas, with the aim of getting real users, unwittingly, then to ‘share’ it.”

Companies that host content will be able to use Ofcom’s codes of practice to help them put measures in place to tackle disinformation.

This could see social media sites targeting bot accounts that are often used to spread disinformation and making it more difficult for multiple fake accounts to be created.

The new law will be added to the broader national security bill and is an amendment to the current online safety bill, which is expected to come into force before 2023.


Have a question?