Midlothian MP seeks regulation of tech giants to end 'subsidised hate' online

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson (SNP) last week called for action from government to end "subsidised hate" on social media platforms.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 6:00 am
Owen Thompson MP.

Mr Thompson raised the issue during Parliamentary Questions to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

In her response, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries gave her re-assurances that regulations in the forthcoming Online Safety Bill would cover the issues raised, and she invited Mr Thompson to give his input when the Bill comes before Parliament in the New Year.

Mr Thompson said: “I welcome the reassurances from the Culture Secretary that the Online Safety Bill will contain measures to tackle subsidised hate, and I will be watching very closely when the Bill comes before parliament next year. This is an issue on which hopefully we can reach agreement across parties.

“Tackling online harms is an issue that is very close to my heart, so I am keen to ensure this bill is as strong as it can be - and there is a lot more work to be done."

Mr Thompson added: "Online hate is a very ugly side of social media that is deeply damaging to our society - the big tech companies must be held to account for their role in perpetuating this.

"We know from a Facebook whistleblower that hateful political ads were five to 10 times cheaper for customers - effectively subsidising hate.

"Facebook may since have fiddled with the rules on targetting ads, but it cannot be left up to the whim of self-interested tech billionaires to be the judge and jury on what is allowed. Regulation is a matter for the government."