Prime Minister Theresa May said new legislation will be proposed to the parliament to enable the government to impose bans and fines on social media companies and technology firms if they fail to protect users from harmful content.
“The era of social media firms regulating themselves is over,” said May, adding, “We are putting a legal duty of care on these companies to keep users safe; and if they fail to do so, tough punishments will be imposed.”
The new proposal comes after the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Britain whose family said had been caused by harmful content online on depression and suicide.
It also comes amid increased global worries about the way the social media operate, especially after a mass shooting in two mosques in New Zealand in March, which killed 50 people, was streamed live on one of the platforms of American social media giant Facebook.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversaw President Donald Trump's bitterly contested immigration policies during her tumultuous 16-month tenure, resigned on Sunday amid a surge in the number of migrants at the border with Mexico.
A senior administration official said Trump asked for Nielsen's resignation and she gave it. Trump, who has recently expressed growing anger about the situation at the border, said on Twitter: "Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service."
Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies are to meet in Washington on April 11-12 to discuss the main challenges to the world economy.
“Current trade tensions put the ongoing expansion at risk and are therefore a source of concern,” a joint position paper agreed by EU finance ministers on Saturday said.
The United States and China are engaged in intense negotiations to end a months-long trade war that has rattled global markets. Hopes of a resolution soared after both sides expressed optimism following talks in Beijing last week.
“The international community has to tackle the root causes of the ongoing trade tensions by ensuring a level playing field for open and free trade in goods and services, investment and intellectual property rights,” the joint EU statement said.
The United States is also in talks with the European Union on a trade deal after imposing tariffs on European steel and aluminium last year and threatening to impose tariffs on European cars.
“We reaffirm our commitment to keep the global economy open as well as rules-based, to support an inclusive multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its centre and to keep international economic cooperation on track,” the EU said.
Washington has reservations about the WTO which it believes is unable to tackle modern trade challenges and issues such as intellectual property theft.
The EU believes the WTO is the best way to deal with trade disputes but that it should be reformed to address the U.S. and its own concerns.
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