Stars descend on Downing Street to throw support behind new laws to make UK safest place to be online

Technology Secretary meets nation’s best-known personalities to discuss new laws which would make the UK the safest place in the world to be online

  • Famous faces who are vocal about online abuse - including the most-capped Lioness and reality TV stars - will discuss the issue with Tech Sec Michelle Donelan in No10
  • New laws set to be introduced as landmark legislation completes its final stages in Parliament to make the UK the safest place in the world online
  • Technology Secretary will tell the influential group that she stands shoulder to shoulder with them in their campaign against vile online abuse

Some of the nation’s best-known personalities from reality TV to sports, journalism and music will today (Tuesday 12 September) meet the Technology Secretary to discuss new laws which would make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.

Coming together at Downing Street later today, they’ll shine a light not only on the impact cowardly online abuse has had on them in the past, but the need to pass powerful new laws to tackle it permanently for future generations, protecting our kids and our mental health.

Stars in attendance to discuss the UK Government’s Online Safety Bill include Georgia Kousoulou, Emily Clarkson, Georgia Harrison and Fara Williams who have been some of the most passionate and dedicated advocates in the UK for a safer internet over the past few years.

The online world plays a huge role in our personal and professional lives, and those in attendance have all have experienced trolling and other forms of abuse online, with new parents including Emily Clarkson, Georgia Kousoulou and others previously raising concerns about their children’s safety growing up online.

Those joining the roundtable have previously echoed their support for the landmark piece of legislation, praising how the new rules will protect their kids from harmful and illegal content, such as bullying, pornography, the promotion of self-harm and eating disorders and online sexual exploitation and abuse.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:

"The message from government and these brave campaigners is clear. Enough is enough – it’s time to pass our online safety law and crack down on the sick and cowardly trolls who prowl out of sight online. We stand shoulder to shoulder in our determination to protect our children and other vulnerable groups from a host of vile content that is currently all too easy for them to access."

Former The Only Way is Essex star Georgia Kousoulou said:

"Like any mum, I want my son to grow up feeling safe. These new internet safety laws are so important and will make sure our kids are protected from cyberbullying and illegal content they shouldn’t be seeing."

The Online Safety Bill is the UK Government’s flagship piece of legislation that will make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. It will do this by:

  • Tackling criminal activity online - if it’s illegal offline, it’s illegal online. Platforms will be forced to quickly remove terrorist material or child sexual abuse and exploitation once they are alerted to its presence and will not be allowed to promote it in their algorithms.
  • Protecting children from harmful or inappropriate content such as, bullying, pornography and the promotion of self-harm and eating disorders.
  • Increasing the transparency and accountability of online platforms and ensuring they keep their promises to their users.

In just a matter of weeks, we expect the Bill to become law, with it currently completing its final stages in Parliament, following boosted protections to make sure it is as strong as possible and truly future-proofed.

NSPCC Chief Executive, Sir Peter Wanless, said:

"The Online Safety Bill is a landmark piece of legislation and will become a central pillar of the child protection framework in the UK. The Government and politicians of all sides have worked tirelessly with survivors of abuse, bereaved families and civil society to ensure the legislation results in a much safer online world for children.

"We are tantalisingly close to passing the Bill, so its real-world impact can begin. Once MPs and parliamentarians have finished their work, it is over to tech companies to work with the regulator Ofcom and child protection experts to make sure their products and services do not put children at risk any longer."

Former Love Island star Georgia Harrison said:

"Violence against women and girls is so common, with one in three women in the UK having experienced online abuse or harassment.

"The Online Safety Bill is going to help bring this to an end, by holding social media companies accountable to protect women and girls from online abuse."

Fara Williams, EE Hope United squad member and former England international, said:

"I’m pleased to show my support of the amendments to the Online Safety Bill that will hopefully see more protection for women and girls online. It is clear that the online abuse that happens across social media platforms is something that needs to change and so this a very positive step towards creating a safer and more inclusive online environment for everyone."

Under the new laws, all social media firms will be forced to proactively tackle priority illegal content, and ensure they have systems and processes in place that will quickly take down other criminal content once they become aware of its presence.

The largest platforms with certain functionalities will also be legally forced to take down any material that breaches their own terms of service and provide adults with greater controls over posts containing legal material they may not wish to see.

The Bill will ensure that all users will have the ability to filter out any users that are unverified on websites and can prevent them from interacting with any content which they upload, generate or share, if they so wish.

Platforms will legally have to ensure they have effective reporting and redress mechanisms in place that enables any user to raise concerns about illegal content and companies’ enforcement of their terms of service.

The Bill will also ensure tech companies proactively tackle the use of their platforms to commit fraud. All companies in scope of the Bill will need to tackle fraud offences, this includes, user generated content or content accessed via search results.

Furthermore, the largest and most high-risk services will have additional duties in relation to fraud facilitated through paid for adverts. They will face hefty fines if they do not. 

In addition, the regulator, Ofcom, will have a broad power to require information from companies to assess compliance with providers’ duties to tackle illegal content and content that is harmful to children.

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP