A proposed law for policing the internet could silence debate on discussion forums including the popular parenting website Mumsnet, its founder warned last night.
Justine Roberts, CEO of Mumsnet, urged Ministers to make changes to the proposed Online Safety Bill amid fears it could lead to ‘censorship’.
Her call comes amid mounting concern from campaigners, lawyers and politicians that the legislation will have a catastrophic impact on free speech in the UK.
The new system will be policed by the regulator Ofcom, which will have the power to impose fines of up to £18 million on firms.
But critics warn the definition of ‘harmful’ is too vague and that faced with the prospect of fines, tech firms could design algorithms that will simply erase comments that could be deemed controversial or offensive.
People could be prevented from commenting on a range of issues – from transgender rights to Brexit – because under the legislation, the tech giants policing the internet could delete them.
Mumsnet has already been targeted by activists. The Mail on Sunday revealed in 2019 how margarine brand Flora stopped advertising on the platform after a ‘handful’ of transgender activists complained the site was transphobic.
Read more: Fascist web policing law could silence women on discussion forums such as Mumsnet, warn campaigners – that’s the idea as the UK’s fascist government, in league with the fascist World Economic Forum, plan to delete what’s left of Internet freedom through Online ‘Safety’ (fascism) bill