New laws to protect kids could see Facebook and Instagram face criminal prosecution

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FACEBOOK and Instagram could face criminal prosecution under new government plans if they fail to protect users online, it emerged last night.

New duty of care proposals would see social media giants face legal action and multi-million pound fines and could even be barred from operating in the UK if they fail to take down illegal or harmful material, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Molly Russell
Molly Russell took her life after seeing images of suicide on Instagram
Press Association Images

It comes after 14-year-old Molly Russell took her own life in 2017 after she viewed distressing material about depression and suicide on Instagram.

Proposals are designed to protect children online from content including sex abuse, self-harm and cyberbullying.


The new laws would be enforced by a new independent regulator which will “name and shame” firms that breach standards and force them to implement an action plan within a specified time limit.

The government plans have the approval of Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Ministers have expressed concerns that multi-million pound fines may not be enough to deter social media giants and are proposing in extreme cases that overseas social media firms such as Facebook should be blocked from operating in Britain.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has given his approval of the new laws
PA:Press Association

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