Plans to make tech giants and social networks more accountable for harmful content online are set to be announced by the Government next week, in a bid to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to be online.

The move has been met with mixed reaction, with many welcoming tighter rules, while others have expressed concerns about internet freedoms.

The urgency to act has been highlighted by a number of cases, such as teenager Molly Russell, who was found to have viewed content linked to self-harm and suicide on Instagram before taking her own life in 2017.

More recently, material relating to terrorism has also been a concern, following the mosque attack in New Zealand which was livestreamed on Facebook.

Making Social Media Bosses Personally Liable for Violating Content

According to leaked plans obtained by the Guardian, the White Paper could include ways to make social media bosses personally liable for violating content on their platforms.

It is claimed that ministers will push to legislate for a new “duty of care” to be policed by an independent regulator, likely to be Ofcom initially, who will have the power to impose substantial fines.

Social media companies could be forced to produce transparency reports every year, detailing the amount of harmful content found on their platforms and how they addressed the issue.

It may also include rules requiring co-operation with police on any illegal harms identified.