September 19, 2021
Business News

Watchdog to get new powers to police harmful content on social media

AN Irish regulatory watchdog is set to be given new powers to police harmful video content on the world’s biggest social media platforms.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which currently regulates Irish commercial radio and television as well as RTE and TG4, will now regulate video content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in Ireland and across Europe, under proposals beings considered by government.

As the world’s largest social media platforms are based in Ireland, the BAI will now expand its reach across the continent and be responsible for new rules for most video content on social media sites.

The rules will require age verification, parental controls and a ‘robust’ complaints mechanism.

There is growing pressure in Europe for Ireland to implement these new EU rules amid deepening concern over content on such platforms.

Social media content came into sharp focus in Ireland last week following the verdict in the Ana Kriegel murder case. Facebook and Twitter were ordered to take down material identifying Boy A and Boy B.

It also emerged during legal argument, published after the trial, that one of the 14-year-old boys had a significant volume of pornographic images on his phone. This raised concerns about the type of material young people can now easily access online.

Meanwhile, gardai have also warned that anyone who identifies minors convicted of criminal offences can be jailed for up to three years.

The warning was made after images purporting to be Anna Kriegel’s convicted killers appeared on social media in the wake of the trial.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána reminded the public they have a care of duty in relation to the anonymity of a child in court proceedings.

The statement stressed that “NO” document, information, or image “which is likely to lead to his or her identification, shall be published or included in a broadcast”.

Anyone found guilty of this offence can be fined up to £1,500 or face 12 months in prison, or both.

More serious breaches of the ‘Children Act 2001’, could see a person could face a fine of up to €10,000 or up to three years in prison, or both.

PHOTO: Stock image

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