boris johnson He warned social media owners that they would face “criminal sanctions” for allowing them to share “incorrect content” on their platforms as they promised that the harms bill would be debated online in parliament before Christmas.
Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson had to “overcome extremism, hatred and online abuse” following the killing of Conservative MP Sir David Ames on Friday.
Speaking on the Prime Minister’s questions, the Labor leader said: “It has been three years since the Government promised the Online Safety Bill, but it is not yet before the House.
“Meanwhile, the harm caused by harmful content online is worse than ever. Dangerous algorithms on Facebook and Instagram. And Hope Not Hate has shown me an example of violent Islamism and far-right propaganda on TikTok. “
Mr Johnson replied: “The safety of MPs, indeed of all public servants, is of vital importance. The online security bill is so important, it’s one of the most important tools in our arsenal.”
He said: “What we are doing is making sure that we crack down on companies that promote illegal and dangerous materials and we will tighten those provisions.
“We’re also going to make sure the Online Security Bill completes its steps before this House before Christmas.”
Sir Keir also questioned why owners of social media companies that failed to act on extremism would not face criminal sanctions under the government’s current plans.
He claimed that extremist content was shared on the instant messaging app Telegram while MPs were paying tribute to Sir David in Parliament earlier this week.
Mr Johnson later said: “We are willing to see anything to strengthen the law, I have said we will bring it forward for a second reading before Christmas.
“And, yes, of course we will have criminal sanctions with strict punishment for those who are responsible for allowing this wrong material on the internet.
“What we expect is also that no matter how difficult a proposal we make, the opposition will support it.”