Damian Collins: Spreading harmful content on social media should be an offence like dumping chemicals
Social media companies should be held liable for the spread of harmful disinformation on their platforms, according to a panel of experts, including the former chair of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee. They also warn that the next “fake news” battle will be over coronavirus vaccine take-up.
Mark Borkowski, founder and head of Borkowski PR, said there should be an aggressive and visible effort to call out bad actors and social media companies.
“I think we should go much further in terms of naming and shaming tactics and [calling out] what people are doing. And we need to increase the pressure on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to go for these people who will take note,” he said.
“We talked about David Icke being pulled down, and Katie Hopkins as well, but it took a long time for that to take place. I’m involved with something at the moment and YouTube are really dragging their heels [to deal with] someone who’s falsifying a lot of information, making up statistics… [they are very] reluctant to intervene.”
Borkowski didn’t mince his words when describing the impact of disinformation spreading on social media.
“It is polluting the web – it is no different from throwing poisonous toxic effluent into the web,” he said. “We’ve got to start looking at those people.”