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Carol Vorderman, Peter Andre and ex-Love Islander Amber Gill back new online safety laws

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  • Public figures line up to back the Bill after suffering from abuse online
  • UK is leading the world with groundbreaking proposals to protect people online

Public figures who have suffered online abuse, including Carol Vorderman, Peter Andre and Amber Gill, have come out in support of world-leading online safety laws following an exclusive discussion recorded at the Science Museum, London.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries met with several celebrities such as Emily Clarkson, ex-footballer Anton Ferdinand, The Voice finalist Okulaja, model and influencer Fadhi Mohamed, Olympic javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson and former Love Island contestant Sharon Gaffka to discuss how new online safety laws will protect people from trolls and cyberbullying and hold tech companies to account.

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The meeting is available to watch in full online.

The roundtable followed the introduction of the Online Safety Bill to Parliament earlier this month – a big milestone in the journey towards making the UK’s pioneering online safety laws a reality. The bill’s second reading is due on Tuesday 19th of April. Other figures in attendance include Rosie Duffield MP and Deputy CEO of the Diana Award Alex Holmes.

Nadine Dorries met them at the Science Museum in Kensington to hear about their personal experiences of online abuse, harassment, trolling and the effect this can also have on their families and loved ones.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

I’ve heard too many horrific stories about how online trolls have seriously impacted people’s lives. I’m determined the Online Safety Bill goes as far as it can to make a difference, especially to young people.

If we don’t act now, we’re condemning the next generation of children being exposed online to abuse, self-harm, bullying and suicide content. No parent wants that.

The discussion focused on issues those present have personal experience of – including online bullying, parents being able to trust that their children are safe on social media, the importance of free speech online and anonymity.

Carol Vorderman said:

It’s vital that the internet is safe for young people and we need to be confident they won’t experience horrendous harms. I’m glad the Bill will include protections to further tackle grooming, a subject close to my heart, both now and with the new technologies of the very near future.

Peter Andre said:

Bullying when I was a kid was face to face but when people hide behind computers the impact can be even worse. These laws will help make a huge difference and hold companies to account for protecting users.

Amber Gill said:

Social media has so many positives and it should be the kind of place people can be themselves and say what they think. I want younger people to be able to enjoy it and not fear it and laws like this will bring real change.

The new laws will protect children, tackle illegal content and protect free speech, as well as requiring social media platforms to uphold their stated terms and conditions.

If they don’t, the regulator Ofcom will work with platforms to ensure they comply and if they don’t, it will have the power to fine companies up to ten per cent of their annual global turnover – which could reach billions of pounds – to force them to fulfil their responsibilities or even block non-compliant sites.

The Bill tackles anonymous online abuse by giving users greater control over who they interact with online and the kind of content they see. The largest platforms will have to offer verification and empowerment tools to users to minimise exposure to trolls and other harmful content like self harm promotion or racist abuse.

In recent weeks ministers have also strengthened the Bill in a number of ways so that it goes further to protect people – including by bringing paid-for scam adverts and sites that host pornography into the scope of the Bill and making companies proactively tackle the most harmful illegal content and criminal activity quicker.

The Science Museum is home to an exhibition on the ‘Information Age’, celebrating more than 200 years of innovation in information and communication technology through the eyes of those affected by the first wave of technology, including the internet – the computer Tim Berners-Lee used to invent the World Wide Web is featured in the exhibition.

The Online Safety Bill will now further change the online landscape in the UK and set the standards for a better, safer internet.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Link to the full-length video can be found here.

A full list of the attendees is as follows –

  • Alex Holmes (The Diana Award)
  • Amber Gill
  • Anton Ferdinand
  • Carol Vorderman
  • Emily Clarkson
  • Fadhi Mohamed
  • Okulaja
  • Peter Andre
  • Rosie Duffield MP
  • Sharon Gaffka
  • Tessa Sanderson

Additional quotes from attendees:

Anton Ferdinand said:

Unless the social media companies are regulated by an independent body, then wider society and not just the blue ticks will continue to suffer from all forms of discrimination and hate. So I am happy the bill is addressing this.

Okulaja said:

Abuse on social media can’t be switched off for kids today. My experience on The Voice led to trolling that affected my family as well as me and made me passionate about speaking out – I welcome these laws.

Alex Holmes said:

At The Diana Award we know it can feel hard to escape online bullying – especially for those with protected characteristics, who research tell us are disproportionately affected by online abuse. We want to see legislation that makes that difference to keep both adults and children safe online.

Sharon Gaffka said:

I care about how young women are treated online – I don’t want anyone to experience the racial abuse I’ve received and that’s why I’m speaking up about it. Abuse is not acceptable and I hope the Bill will make this clear.



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