What is the online safety bill?

Social media giants have faced increased scrutiny in recent years. But while users have continued increasing in the UK, many have long felt these platforms should do more to protect them. Updates to the Online Safety Bill promise to better clean up a digital world that some have deemed lawless.

The Online Safety Bill was first drafted in May 2021. Overseen by media regulator Ofcom, it made it the duty of tech giants to remove harmful or illegal content. But critics argued it lacked explicit standards and left too much up to the platforms themselves. 

The strengthened bill now includes a more clearly defined range of content for platforms to target proactively. It covers various scams and offences, including:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Hate crime
  • Drugs and weapons dealing
  • Financial fraud
  • Suicide promotion

The Online Safety Bill is innovative and a clear step in the right direction. It may not adequately police harmful content, so users still need to be savvy to the dangers. We’ve shared some key safety tips below. 

How can you protect yourself online?

Create strong passwords

Strong passwords are essential for social media, online banking, or other accounts. This means choosing random combinations of letters, numbers, and characters over easy-to-guess phrases. Passwords to avoid include names and birthdays. 

It’s best to create a unique password for each account you use. And to be even safer, you should change your passwords every few months.    

Update your devices and software

Updates might seem like an unnecessary drag when you want to use your devices or social media apps as quickly as possible. But manufacturers design many updates specifically to tighten security against new online threats.

It’s wise to carry out updates as early as possible to avoid leaving any gaps. Enabling automatic updates is the easiest way to do this.  

Protect your internet connection

You’ll want to protect your home internet network with a strong password if you haven’t already. This will stop people from accessing your devices or hogging your broadband.

Public internet connections are especially vulnerable to criminals. Downloading a UK VPN will help to hide your activities and information from anyone who might be snooping. 

Be savvy to scams

Phishing scams can breakthrough anti-virus software and the most private networks. These scams aim to trick you into giving away personal information. 

Keep a keen eye out for fraudulent ads, emails, and websites. Avoid clicking any links if you receive a suspicious message from someone you don’t know on social media.

The Online Safety Bill won’t immediately end all online threats: follow the tips above to stay safe when socialising or browsing the wider web.  

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Claire Rogstad
Social Media Director

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