Boris Johnson has read the riot act of online tech giants about failure to eliminate extreme pornography. Johnson also says that these companies have a responsibility for what is on their system. Johnson supports legalizing cyber flashing.

  • Boris Johnson stated that online tech giants were not neutral pieces of infrastructure.
  • According to the PM, firms are responsible for their system’s content.
  • Johnson also supported MPs’ calls to criminalize cyber flashing

Boris Johnson, today reading the riot law to social media businesses. He said that they should do more to address extreme pornography uploaded to their networks. 

According to the Prime Minister, “people are degraded by this stuff” and it is high time that online giants realized they can’t simply consider themselves neutral infrastructure pieces.

Johnson said to the Liaison Committee senior MPs that publishers are responsible for all information on their systems.

The Premier also supported the calls for Cyber Flashing to become a Criminal Offence. 

Cyber flashing means that someone is sent a unsolicited image of a woman’s sexuality via AirDrop. It’s an iPhone file-sharing service. 

Boris Johnson today read the riot act to social media firms as he said they must do more to tackle extreme pornography posted on their networks

Boris Johnson, today reading the riot law to social media businesses. He said that they should do more in order to deal with extreme pornography uploaded to their networks.

Online Safety Bill (previously known as Online Harms Bill) is being introduced by the Government. It is intended to hold tech companies more responsible for harmful user content that is hosted on their platforms. 

Caroline Nokes (chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee) told Johnson that one of the cultural underpinning violence against men is easy access to violent and degrading pornography.

She asked, “Can we believe that the online harms laws that we’re going to be able to vote on prior to Christmas will actually address those?”

Johnson said, “It is evident that people are coarsened & degraded because of this stuff. And we will see what else we can do.” 

“The technical difficulties that face the internet are very severe, but online giants must ensure they do not have such stuff.

“We will make all necessary steps to bring them to justice, and that’s what the Online Harms Bill was designed to accomplish.”

Asked if the new legislation will force companies to take action against such material, the PM said: ‘It is time the online giants realised that they cannot simply think of themselves as neutral pieces of infrastructure.

They are publishers. This means they can be held responsible for the content on their sites. The Online Harms Bill aims to clarify that.

The new laws could see executives held criminally liable for safety breaches on their platforms. 

These sanctions can be implemented in two years from the date of the law’s implementation, but the government is being urged to act faster. 

Mr Johnson told senior MPs on the Liaison Committee this afternoon that the firms 'are publishers and they have responsibility for what appears on their systems'

Johnson stated to senior MPs in the Liaison Committee that firms are publishers, and therefore they bear responsibility for the content on their systems.

Mr Johnson told Julian Knight, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, he shared ‘anxiety about the deferred sanctions that we are currently looking at and let me take that away’. 

He added: ‘I think that we want the strongest possible deterrent and the strongest possible sanctions against people who run online companies who are allowing a torrent of hateful stuff to appear on their networks.’  

Knight asked Mr. Knight if cyber flashing should become illegal. 

Mr Johnson replied: ‘I don’t care whether flashing is cyber or not – it should be illegal.’

When asked if the Online Safety Bill would be amended to reflect this, the PM replied: “If you are able to draft something that captures it, then let’s take a look.”