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A dedicated media commissioner will prioritize complaints about social media content relating to children


A dedicated media commissioner will prioritize individual complaints about child-related content online.

A group of experts today gave the green light to the creation of an individual complaints body which will for the first time deal with complaints from citizens about harmful content on social networks.

Individuals will first need to go to the social platform in question and exhaust all avenues with respect to their complaint.

They can then lodge a complaint with the Media Commission, which will initially focus on complaints relating to children.

“Such a mechanism does not remove the responsibility of social media services to apply robust and effective processes for handling complaints,” said Culture Minister Catherine Martin.

She said additional funding will be provided to the Commission so that the complaints mechanism can be put in place.

Between 100 and 300 people will be employed in the individual complaints body.

It is not known what the total cost of the Commission will be for the taxpayer.

Ms Martin said that when the complaints are upheld the content will have to be removed under a “content restriction order”. If this is not done by social media companies, it could be considered a violation of the law.

Social media companies will have to adhere to a series of rules, or “binding online safety codes”, which will first be drawn up by the Commission.

Social media companies will then have to adhere to this security code.

If they do not comply with this security code, the State will be able to impose a fine on companies of 10% of their annual turnover or 10 million euros, whichever is greater.

Harmful content, including in relation to cyberbullying, self-harm, suicide, or promoting eating disorders, will be prohibited.

Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, Tanya Ward, said: “The publication of the expert panel’s report recommending the introduction of an individual complaints mechanism is a historic change in the way we protect children and young people online.

“Introducing an individual complaints mechanism in the Online Safety and Media Regulation (OSMR) Bill will establish a vital safety net for children and young people and would hold platforms accountable for their services a safer space for children.

“Over the past decade, big technology, online and media companies have rapidly revolutionized their services and in Ireland and our laws have not kept pace. Now the government has a real opportunity to revolutionize the way these platforms serve the best interests of the people. who use them.

“Ireland can be at the forefront of the global movement to regulate big tech that seeks to hold online services accountable, but to do this our laws must be ambitious. They must set high standards for security , redress, accountability and transparency for all platforms that wish to operate here and hold them accountable when they fail to meet this standard,” she added.

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