RESEARCH commissioned by the NSPCC found that four in every five adults in the West Midlands want senior tech managers to be appointed and held legally responsible for stopping children being harmed by social media.
Currently, the legislation would only hold tech bosses responsible for failing to give information to the regulator Ofcom, and not for corporate decisions that result in preventable harm or sexual abuse.
It comes as Conservative MPs are calling on the Government to amend the Bill to hold senior managers liable for children’s safety when it returns to Parliament this month on January 16th.
The move is also supported by Ruth Moss, whose daughter Sophie died by suicide after viewing harmful material on social media.
Ruth said: “As far as I’m concerned, where companies wilfully break the law and put the lives of children like my daughter at risk, of course senior managers should be criminally accountable. The consequences of non- compliance are life changing for children like Sophie.
“Criminal liability drives the right behaviours in those with the most responsibility. It works in other industries and there is no reason in my mind as to why big tech executives should be treated any differently.”
The charity estimate that over 21,000 online child sex crimes will have been recorded by police in the time the legislation was delayed in July until it is likely to finally pass through Parliament on January 16th.
Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “2022 was the year the Online Safety Bill faced delay after delay while children faced sexual abuse on an industrial scale and tech bosses sat on their hands as their algorithms continued to bombard young users with hugely dangerous material.
“This year must be the year legislation delivers the systemic change for children online that our polling shows families up and down the UK want.
“The Government can do this by delivering bold, world-leading regulation that ensures the buck stops with senior management for the safety of our children.”