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UK to Force Internet Companies to Curb Foreign 'Disinformation'

Owners of platforms where people can post their own content will have a legal duty to proactively curtail posts backed by overseas governments aimed at "interfering with the UK."

(Bloomberg) -- The UK will force owners of apps such as social media and search engines to curb “state-linked disinformation” or face fines with an amendment to its sweeping new upcoming online safety law.

Owners of platforms where people can post their own content will have a legal duty to pro-actively curtail posts backed by overseas governments aimed at “interfering with the UK,” the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement Monday. 

If they don’t, regulator Ofcom will have the power to impose fines of as much as 10% of their annual global sales, in powers granted by the forthcoming Online Safety Bill. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, companies including Alphabet Inc.’s Google blocked Kremlin-linked outlets such as news network RT, formerly known as Russia Today. 

“Disinformation is often seeded by multiple fake personas, with the aim of getting real users, unwittingly, then to ‘share’ it,” Security Minister Damian Hinds said in the statement. “We need the big online platforms to do more to identify and disrupt this sort of co-ordinated inauthentic behavior.”

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