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New internet laws return to Parliament

Parliamentarians will debate the government’s ground-breaking Online Safety Bill which requires social media platforms, search engines and other apps and websites allowing people to post content to improve the way they protect their users.

Ofcom, the regulator, will have the power to fine companies failing to comply with the laws up to ten per cent of their annual global turnover, force them to improve their practices and block non-compliant sites. Crucially, the laws have strong measures to safeguard children from harmful content.

Ahead of Tuesday’s debate, the government is launching the next phase of its Online Media Literacy Strategy. It aims to help vulnerable and ‘hard-to-reach’ people, such as those who are digitally excluded or from lower socio-economic backgrounds, navigate the internet safely and teach them to spot falsities online.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will spend £2.5 million to advance the plan through the next year including on training, research and providing expert advice. This includes a new Media Literacy Taskforce featuring experts from a range of disciplines and a boost to the Media Literacy Fund, which gives teachers and local service providers the skills they need to teach people to improve their critical thinking of what they see online.