Facebook, Google execs liable for harmful content under UK plans

The news comes as social media giants face increasing calls to clean up their platforms in the wake of the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque attack. The gunman, who killed 50 people, livestreamed the attack on Facebook, with subsequent copies of the footage being shared on YouTube and Twitter.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg this week pushed back against calls to implement a broadcast delay in the firm’s livestream feature, claiming it would “fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people.” The billionaire has recently called for stricter regulation of the internet.

It also comes as Australia introduces tough new laws of its own targeting social media platforms. A new penalty regime in the country would see tech executives jailed for hosting violent video content — such as the New Zealand attack video — on their platforms.

Meanwhile in Britain, the suicide of teenager Molly Russell has intensified concerns over the role played by social media giants. Russell took her own life in 2017 after viewing distressing material about self-harm and suicide on Instagram. The photo-sharing app subsequently said it would ban all graphic self-harm images.

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