06 Jun 2019

Why regulating social media companies could prevent self harm and suicide among young children


UK MPs want to hold social media firms accountable for published content. Many parents believe that social media is a possible driver of self-harm and suicide among youth populations.

In the US, the courts have interpreted the constitution in a way that provides social media companies with a blank protection from legal liability for publication of self-harm material, no matter what the consequences of the publications are. As a result, social media companies have been treating their users, particularly those who are the most vulnerable, with utter contempt, resulting in increasing numbers of case of death, injuries and self-harm amount young children and youths.
In the UK, there are no specific laws to shield social media companies from being held accountable for the material which is published on their platforms. The courts, however, have largely allowed them to get away with claims that they are not “publishers” but only provide a platform for people to publish, almost like a telephone company who can say they have no control over conversations that people using its phone lines make.
The UK government is now taking matters into its own hands by planning to create a new regulatory system for social media companies to address the lawlessness state of the internet. in my interview with Al Jazeera, I explain, what I have discussed in more detail in my book The Net is Closing; Birth of the e-Police, that it’s possible to create cross jurisdictional internet regulation systems to limit social media content and mitigate the harm it can inflict on children.

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