The makers of UK’s only abuse-proof social network have welcomed government plans to give communications watchdog Ofcom the power to force social media firms to act over harmful content.
Describing the announcement as “as welcome as it is overdue”, makers of the Rate Your Leader app urged users to consider moving on from the platforms to other social media apps which “put safety at their heart”.
The government has announced that it is “minded” to expand to remit of the television and radio regular Ofcom to social to online platforms to enforce a legal “duty of care” of major social media firms to protect their users from harmful or illegal content.
Proposed new regulations will require social media firms to explicitly state what content and behaviour is acceptable on their sites and enforce these terms and conditions effectively, consistently and transparently.
The government will publish further details of potential new enforcement powers Ofcom will be given to undertake its new role later in the year.
Free app Rate Your Leader was created by the Digital Democracy project bridge the gulf between people and their elected representatives with phones and other handheld devices – whilst blocking malicious or offensive communication in a way that other social media platforms do not.
The app makers have previous highlighted that online abuse suffered by local councillors has risen by 500% in just two years
The abuse-proof Rate Your Leader app confirmed voters in specific electoral divisions to communicate directly with the elected representatives, as well as rating them for responsiveness.
Founder Joel Popoola said:
“This news is as welcome as it is overdue. Major social media companies have betrayed people’s trust for too long by allowing their technology to be used as a platform for hate speech and abuse. As politicians have personally been at the receiving end of so much of this abuse it was inevitable that they would take action.
“If Rate Your Leader can deliver abuse-proof communication, some of the wealthiest firms on Earth have no excuse. We have warned for some time that if these firms continued to fail in their role of their own policemen the government would step in, and so it has come to pass.
“The saddest thing is that they are only acting to protect their own users from harassment, abuse and threats, because they are going to be forced to. Consumers should consider whether they want to continue engaging with companies which are so cavalier about their safety and considering moving on to other services which have safety at their heart”.
The Rate Your Leader app is available from the Apple and Google Marketplaces. The app has a five star rating on the Google market, with one reviewer writing “This is the new level of politics…better communication of leaders with the electorates and accountability”.
An ever-increasing number of MPs, councillors and Police & Crime Commissioners have already taken advantage of the free democracy app to stay in touch with the people who elect them and to get their message out to confirmed voters in their constituencies, helping them truly understand what matters most to the people who elect them