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Communications watchdog Ofcom could be given more powers over UK social media

The watchdog Ofcom could be given more powers over social media in the UK.

The powers would allow the watchdog to force social media companies to take action over harmful content on their platforms. Currently, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and other social media companies are largely self-regulating.

New rules could see social media firms responsible not only for removing harmful content quickly but for minimising the risks of it being shown on the platforms in the first place.

Ofcom currently regulates TV and radio, wireless airwaves and the post, but does not currently regulate the internet or internet safety. The government has signalled that it may give Ofcom new powers over social media firms in the near future.

Social media firms have defended their procedures and policies for dealing with harmful content, but many feel that the networks need to do more to protect their users, many of which are young people, from harmful content such as child abuse, bullying, violence and crime.

Children's charity the NSPCC has welcomed the news, while Facebook said it has "long called" for new regulation, and it is "looking forward to carrying on the discussion" with the government and wider industry about such regulations.

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