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Social media abuse victims must have legal right to sue tech giants, children’s charities say

Among the paper’s key proposals are to introduce a statutory duty of care on tech companies to protect their users from harm. This will be enforced by a new regulator, which will have powers to levy substantial fines and potentially even find tech executives personally liable for serious breaches.

Yesterday, MPs also called for them to be given a statutory veto over whomever heads up the new online ‘super regulator’.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said it wants the power to block appointments in a similar way that the Treasury Select Committee can block appointments to the body that oversees the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The committee’s submission on the white paper said: “The regulator must have complete integrity and be beyond reproach by those it will police, including tech companies.”

Elsewhere, the father of Molly Russell, the 14-year-old schoolgirl who took her own life after viewing images of self-harm and suicide on social media, said the new regulator’s powers must be stringent enough that the tech giants cannot ignore them.

In a submission from the charity set up in his daughter’s name, the Molly Rose Foundation, Ian Russell warned that a situation must not be allowed to develop similar to the Ford Pinto scandal of the 1970s.

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