Online Safety Bill Will Allow Regulators To Fine Social Media Companies For Not Blocking Underage Accounts

Social media companies are poising a huge risk of major fines in case they don’t adopt the rules linked to the blockage of accounts belonging to young users.

UK's tech secretary, Michelle Donelean, announced yesterday how these companies have a huge responsibility on their shoulders and that has to do with making sure those below the age of 13 don’t have accounts on their apps.

She mentioned these comments as the world awaits the much anticipated Online Safety Bill to take center stage and go back to the parliament to attain a few final changes before coming into complete effect. As it is, it’s undergone plenty of delays and it’s about time the firm made the changes, sources added.

The top official said they’re now taking on a zero-tolerance strategy to combat the growing and leading concerns of kids using social media. And while speaking to The Daily Telegraph recently, it meant deactivating accounts belonging to those users who are as young as 8 or 9. And that means enforcing stringent rules on the platforms to bring up their game.

She further delineated in her interview how the effects of youngsters using this platform are unbelievable on their mental well-being and development. And that could give rise to huge issues in the future, especially those that have a long-term effect. So why not curb the matter at the start and then allow it to grow in the future?

The new Online Safety Bill will see the United Kingdom’s regulatory firm Ofcom be instilled with the powers to establish fines comprising 10% of their overall profits. This would be if they failed to include the right checks to set out age limits in the terms and conditions outlined.

The regulator may even exert powers and carry out a prosecution against those heading the respective social media firms as they’re constantly breaking rules. And the penalties may include jail sentences lasting close to two years or more.

This will set out draft codes that may arise before the holiday season kicks start. And that further increases the threshold for the right types of checks needed to stop those below 13 from gaining access to social media apps.

The laws continually face several delays and changes after a massive backlash arose from a few in the tech world. The latter argued about how the laws will take away the safety of encrypted chats that are designed to ensure users communicate effectively online.

Moreover, the bill may pass the parliament stage of approval by late next month and experts feel it’s a great step in the right direction. Moreover, it’s being talked about as one that saves the lives of so many youngsters too by keeping kids protected at all times from dangerous content online. This might be explicit material or those posing self-harm.

The tech secretary for the UK also claims that the list of rules laid down is not getting enforced right now, in the manner that they should be. She similarly stressed how kids who are so young in age are now viewing porn and that’s alarming, thanks to easy access to social media.

And when such things happen in childhood, it’s hard to see them grow up to be positive, successful, and healthy individuals. That is why the right online rules must be developed to ensure these kids are protected from such matters at all times.

Further, mention about companies giving young users permission to use apps below the age of 13 may mean they’re bound to face huge fines, and only then can they learn from not repeating the same mistake again.

We’re already seeing so many apps from Meta take on the initiative of rolling out measures like age verification on videos as a means of a huge experiment to get rid of those below the age of 13 from these kinds of apps.

Other companies in the world of digital tech like Snapchat claim to be blocking and getting rid of any accounts that run in tens of thousands. They belong to those below the 13-year age restriction.

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