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Policy

BPS position paper: Online Safety Bill

14 December 2021

The British Psychological Society (BPS), the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK, welcomes the introduction of a Bill to regulate digital spaces and protect people from online harm.

However, we believe that changes are needed to extend the scope and sweep of the Bill in order for it to effectively make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

  • The BPS believes that the duties to take measures to mitigate risk of exposure to content that is legal but harmful should extended to apply to all platforms, not just the largest Category 1 platforms.
  • The BPS calls on the Government to add an additional explicit duty on Ofcom to address cross-platform risks, and to place a clear requirement on platforms to co-operate on crossplatform risks. This is necessary in order to address harms such as child grooming moving across platforms to encrypted messaging and livestreaming sites.
  • The BPS believes that the child safety duty should be extended so that it covers any services likely to be accessed by a child. Confining the duty to only services likely to be accessed by a “significant number” of children will still allow children to be at risk of harm.

It is vital that all content on platforms that is harmful, regardless of whether it is legal, must fall under the scope of this new legislative framework and that the above additional amendments are made to strengthen the effectiveness of the Bill in upholding the safety of platform users.

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