THE TORIES have pledged to regulate social media websites like Facebook and to introduce a levy - dubbed the #TwitterTax - to pay for the new regime.
"Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree," states the Conservatives' manifesto for the June election, launched on Thursday.
"It is for government, not private companies, to protect the security of people and ensure the fairness of the rules by which people and businesses abide," it continues. "Nor do we agree that the risks of such an approach outweigh the potential benefits."
The Conservatives claim that they wish to introduce the regulation, and the levy on companies, in order to protect consumers from "abusive behaviour" and so that "competition between businesses takes place on a level playing field".
"We will establish a regulatory framework in law to underpin our digital charter and to ensure that digital companies, social media platforms and content providers abide by these principles.
"We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law.
"We will also create a power in law for government to introduce an industry-wide levy from social media companies and communication service providers to support awareness and preventative activity to counter internet harms, as is already the case with the gambling industry."
At the same time, however, the manifesto is promising to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014, which would have required media organisations to become members of "a flawed regulatory system or risk having to pay the legal costs of both sides in libel and privacy cases, even if they win". µ
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