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While regulated companies will need to remove the former content "expeditiously" and put in place "effective systems" to minimise the risk of illegal content appearing in the first place (although these terms are yet to be defined/explained in any detail), it will give regulated companies some freedom to put in place its own policies and processes relating to legal but potentially harmful content (with a higher level of protection to be afforded to children). The fast evolving online world is famously an area governments the world over have failed to understand and adapt to. Fewer than five per cent of United Kingdom businesses will be in scope.

Still under construction, the legislation would place a duty of care on large technology companies to target content from terrorist groups, online disinformation campaigns, and pedophile networks, as well as content that can "cause serious harm". It will mark a significant shift in the regulatory approach towards social media firms, which to date have been largely been self-regulating. Regulation against technology has been glacially slow, but country-specific changes such as this one could be important steps in maintaining public safety as well as holding billion-dollar tech firms accountable.

Ofcom will decide how and when those companies have breached their duties, and choose what punishment should be incurred.

Ofcom is described as having a "proven track record" in regulating telecoms in the United Kingdom, and the government hopes that greater powers will enable it to control, remove and prevent the appearance of content such as bullying, terrorism and child abuse.

The tech companies under Ofcom's remit will be also offered enough clarity in any regulations or codes that are subsequently drawn up, with expectations placed on them clearly stated. The new legislation aims to enforce a duty of care "to keep users safe" from harmful content on platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which Ofcom would be responsible for policing.

Daniel Dyball, UK executive director at the Internet Association, said: "Internet companies are committed to working with Government to achieve our shared goals of keeping people safe online and ensuring that the internet continues to deliver benefits to the economy and society". This decision to extend the remit of an existing regulator has been made despite the majority of consultation responses expressing the view that a new body should be appointed. It will be up to Ofcom to monitor new and emerging online dangers and take appropriate enforcement action. The government will carefully consider the full impacts of this potential change both for Ofcom and to inform broader work on the regulatory landscape.

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Ofcom is more than happy to embrace the new powers.

The regulation remains subject to legislation being introduced into parliament. He has agreed to stay on until the new Chair is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

"Today's statement fails to demonstrate the urgency that is required".

"I would expect the DCMS Committee to be given the opportunity to scrutinise all aspects of the forthcoming Bill before it becomes law".

Warman insisted that, contrary to press reports, "not a single word" of Wednesday's announcement had been "watered down" at the request of technology companies.

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