Senator calls for statutory duty of care for social media companies to tackle online abuse

Catherine Noone says companies should be required to act "to remove abusive content"

Senator calls for statutory duty of care for social media companies to tackle online abuse

File photo. Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

A Fine Gael Senator is calling for a statutory duty of care for social media companies.

Senator Catherine Noone believes that more needs to be done to tackle online abuse and harassment.

A duty of care would require companies to adhere to a certain standard to tackle online abuse.

Senator Noone feels it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed - and suggests companies should be required to act "in an effective, efficient and timely manner to remove abusive content".

The Fine Gale senator argued: “Recent reports in the UK show that 1 in 5 social media users have suffered harassment, abuse, bullying or fraud. This highlights the extent of the problem and why action must be taken to prevent the situation deteriorating.

"Be it adults or children, it's a huge issue - and something that I feel is getting worse every day on social media. Clearly, something needs to be done about it."

She added: "Existing requirements for removal of content already provide for terror related issues. I believe this should now be expanded to cover abuse, harassment and fraud."

Research published last year revealed that more than one in 10 school children have experienced cyber bullying.

The study by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University also showed that children as young as nine are being exposed to the risk of cyber bullies.