Ofcom Suggests More Regulation
Facebook, Google, and YouTube should to more to ensure that their content can be trusted, an Ofcom executive has said.
19:30 16 October 2017
Dame Patricia Hodgson, the chairman of the media regulator Ofcom, has raised the prospect that internet “publishers” could eventually face more regulation. The comment comes as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are pressured to do more to tackle fake news.
Hodgson said: “Those particular distribution systems [Facebook etc] are not within Ofcom’s responsibility but we feel very strongly about the integrity of news in this country and we are totally supportive of steps that should and need to be taken to improve matters.
“My personal view is I see this as an issue that is finally being grasped – certainly within the EU, certainly within this country – and to my amazement and interest, being asked in the United States as a result of the potential Russian scandals. My personal view is that they are publishers but that is only my personal view, that is not an Ofcom view. As I said, Ofcom is simply concerned about the integrity of news and very supportive of the debate and the steps that are being taken.”
Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, said she was wary of regulating internet companies. “We feel strongly that the platforms as publishers have got more responsibility to ensure the right content,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a question of regulation, which I think has a fuzzy boundary with censorship, but I think we feel strongly that the platforms ought to be doing more to ensure their content can be trusted.
“I think it’s a very, very complex issue, where it is easier to identify some of the problems about the lack of trust and I think it’s much harder to see this as a very straight regulatory question.”