Saturday, 23 September 2023 by Ian Ebden
While the bill primarily focuses on safeguarding users, it also carries significant implications for website owners and content writers. Navigating these choppy new waters will be a challenge. This article explores the impact of this legislation on key stakeholders, and examines how they must adapt to its provisions.
Increasing Responsibility & Accountability
One of the most notable aspects of the Online Harms Bill is its emphasis on holding website owners accountable for the content published on their platforms. Under this legislation, website owners are obliged to take steps to prevent 'harmful' content from being posted and to remove it promptly if it does appear. This shift in responsibility necessitates robust content moderation systems and strategies, which can be both costly and time-consuming for website owners.
Content writers, too, must exercise greater caution and responsibility when creating content. The risk of unintentionally contributing to harmful content could result in penalties for both writers and website owners. Therefore, writers must be vigilant in adhering to content guidelines and policies set forth by website owners.
Stricter Regulations on Harmful Content
The Online Harms Bill classifies various forms of harmful content, including hate speech, disinformation, and online harassment, as areas of concern. This implies that website owners must be proactive in identifying and removing such content to avoid penalties. Content writers should also be aware of these classifications to steer clear of creating or promoting harmful content.
While these regulations aim to create a safer online environment, they may also present challenges for website owners and content writers. Striking a balance between allowing freedom of expression and conforming to these new regulations can be a complex task.
Impact on Users
Website owners may face a dilemma as they implement stricter content moderation policies. On one hand, such policies can reduce the prevalence of harmful content and improve user safety, potentially enhancing the reputation of the website. On the other hand, stringent moderation could deter user engagement and content generation, which can affect a website's traffic and monetization strategies.
For content writers, adapting to these changes may involve aligning their content with the evolving landscape of online discourse. They may need to find creative ways to address important issues without resorting to harmful content, which can be a delicate balancing act.
Privacy & Data Protection
The Online Harms Bill also places a spotlight on privacy and data protection. It requires website owners to protect user data and report data breaches promptly. This has implications for content writers who often rely on user data to tailor content and marketing strategies.
As a result, content writers must be mindful of data privacy regulations and ensure they use data ethically and responsibly. Moreover, website owners need to invest in robust data protection measures, which can be costly but are essential for compliance with the law.
Adapting to this new legal landscape requires a proactive approach. Website owners must invest in robust content moderation and data protection systems, while content writers must exercise greater caution in their content creation. Ultimately, striking a balance between user safety, freedom of expression, and business interests will be the key to success or failure in the evolving digital landscape shaped by the Online Harms Bill.