Dr Talita Dias speaks on BBC Newsnight about the UK’s Online Safety Bill
9 November, 2021
On 14 October 2021, Dr Talita Dias was interviewed by Emma Barnett on BBC Newsnight on the UK’s Online Safety Bill, Big Tech and free speech. Asked about content moderation policies adopted by social media giants, Dr Dias noted that two key trends mark the current online environment: 1) platforms’ policies are reactive rather than holistic and well-thought-through; 2) companies’ responses to potentially harmful are binary – content is either left up or take down -, whereas a number of less draconian measures, such as flagging, should be adopted. On whether social media companies should be making decisions about which content should be left up or removed, Dr Dias said that censorship is a State prerogative and one that is limited by international human rights law. Commenting specifically on the UK’s proposed legislation in the area, the Online Safety Bill, Dr Dias suggested that fines should not only be imposed when companies fail to remove illegal or harmful content that requires takedown but also when they erroneously remove protected content, in violation of freedom of expression.
The interview was prompted by a BBC story about YouTube temporarily taking down a video of Conservative MP David Davis arguing against “vaccine passports”, and the anniversary of various social media outlets blocking links to The New York Post’s Hunter Biden story.