The UK is reportedly considering legislation that would impose a ‘duty of care’ on social media companies to regulate harmful content on their platforms. This push for an online safety bill was triggered by the high-profile death of a 14-year-old by suicide. The child had been repeatedly exposed to online content encouraging viewers to engage in self-harm and suicide, including messages such as “Who would love a suicidal girl?” The proposed law would also criminalize sharing pornographic deepfake images and videos.
This UK law would differ significantly from established U.S. law if passed. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996 to regulate pornographic content on the early Internet, presently shields website operators from liability for tortious content that users post. However, the United States Supreme Court may soon narrow this protection as it considers Section 230 this term in Gonzalez v Google LLC (Docket No. 21-1333).