We must resist Lord Bew's moves to curb free speech and innovation

Sam Dumitriu, research economist at the Adam Smith Institute, reacts to Lord Bew's recommendations that would see social media platforms become liable for content posted by their users. 

"Punishing Twitter and Facebook for what their users post will reduce competition, deter innovation, and threaten the free flow of ideas online. The risk of being fined or prosecuted will lead to even more over-enforcement and have a chilling effect on free speech. Accounts with politically unpopular opinions could end up being incorrectly reported for abuse and banned by risk averse social media companies afraid of being fined."

"This move would entrench major tech companies and stifle competition by burdening innovative start-ups with massive entry costs. It is hard to imagine the next Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube receiving early stage investment when the potential liability from letting users freely exchange information online is astronomical."

"Lord Bew's proposal is illegal under EU law. If Britain is to succeed outside the European Union, it needs to preserve an innovation-friendly regulatory environment. Imposing even more regulation than the EU will make it unlikely the next big tech firm will be founded in the UK."

To arrange an interview with a member of the institute or further comment please contact Matt Kilcoyne via email (matt@adamsmith.org) or phone (office: 02072224995 and mobile: 07584778207).