The Draft Online Safety Bill was finally published in May 2021, proposing significant fines for companies which fail to deal with online abuse. Under the legislation, senior executives could also face criminal prosecution and some websites could be blocked.

In December, the Joint Committee responsible for reviewing the Draft Bill concluded that serious changes were needed to “call time on the Wild West online”. Notably, the peers and MPs wrote in their report on the draft bill that it must be clearer about what content is illegal online.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday evening (13 January), culture minister Chris Philp told MPs that there are a “number of areas” where the Online Safety Bill can be “improved substantially”, with a revised piece of legislation expected in the coming months.

Philp's remarks came as MPs debated a report by the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill, which said more offences needed to be covered. These...

Robert Heaton