The “legal but harmful” provisions in the Online Safety Bill give Big Tech’s executives like Nick Clegg the power to delete perfectly legal posts that woke social justice warriors find offensive or rude. The government is effectively outsourcing censorship to Big Tech’s bosses.
The Bill has managed to unite Toby Young’s Free Speech Union, gender critical feminists, LGBT groups, and the churches in opposition. The civil service has been so captured by woke special interest groups that the Bill released today creates a legal requirement for perfectly legal content to be taken off the internet. You’ll no longer be free to say online what you could say legally in a pub…
The Free Speech Union says
“We are particularly concerned that the government has said it will force social media platforms to remove ‘legal but harmful’ content, including ‘harassment’. That will enable political activists and interest group claiming to speak on behalf of disadvantaged groups to silence their opponents by branding any views they disagree with as ‘harassment’. The government is pouring fuel on the cancel culture fire with this legislation. Forcing social media to remove ‘legal but harmful’ content will give the permanently offended almost unlimited power to silence dissenting views.”
Given parliament’s Joint Scrutiny Committee has already recommended junking the idea of censoring ‘legal but harmful’ posts once, it seems particularly obstinate of the government to pursue the provision. The legislation gives the Secretary of State too much discretionary power to give directions as to what is “harmful” content. Nadine Dorries might not be woke, the danger is a future Labour successor undoubtedly will be, and they’ll have the power to enforce woke language policing. It is conceivable that if Lisa Nandy were to become the culture minister she would rule that saying “a woman is an adult female human” is harmful to trans-women.
Tory backbenchers shouldn’t be lining up to crown the likes of Nick Clegg the king of what we can say online with the ability to de-platform Mumsnet. This Bill is bad law and needs to be re-thought.