PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide has been campaigning for a suicide-safer internet for nearly twenty years. The charity welcomes the Online Safety Bill which will improve the safety of children but fears that the removal of powers to protect others may weaken it considerably.
The Online Safety Bill in its current form does not go far enough.
The UK Government has scrapped plans to legislate content that is legal but harmful. Instead, it will ask technology companies to give users more control over what they see and experience on their platforms. This places the responsibility of staying safe on the user and negates the responsibility of the platform itself.
Can you help us to ensure technology companies are held accountable for the safety of users on their platforms?
We have drafted an example letter to your local MP, below. Please edit this letter and send it to your MP, via the following link: https://www.writetothem.com/
We may never have an opportunity like this again.
Thank you for supporting this urgent cause.
[SUBJECT LINE: PROTECT US ONLINE – AMEND THE ONLINE SAFETY BILL]
Dear [YOUR MP]
I am writing to you today regarding the Online Safety Bill, a Bill that we have waited years for – the opportunity to create a safer internet for our children – the likes of which we may not see again.
The UK Government must ensure it prioritises making the Online Safety Bill law as soon as possible otherwise we lose an opportunity to save lives with every day that passes.
It is hugely positive that, after such a long, drawn-out process, the Government is planning to make it an offence to encourage someone to self-harm, but I am disappointed to see that online platforms will not be forced to protect their users from harmful content if it is legal, and they are over 18 years old.
This is a hugely backward step. Suicidal ideation or self-harming do not stop at 18. The new legislation must help protect everyone, on any online platform, whatever their age.
It is unfortunate that the term legal but harmful was ever invented. If it is harmful, it should be removed. People’s lives are being lost because of this content
Please do what you can to put down amendments to the Bill to ensure that its scope is not weakened; that tech firms are properly held to account for promoting legal but harmful content and, in doing so, help to save young lives.