(Bloomberg) -- U.K. media regulator Ofcom named Anna-Sophie Harling as its online safety principal, in charge of tackling disinformation and getting technology giants, including Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc., to show how they deal with harmful and illegal speech.
Harling is currently managing director for Europe at NewsGuard Technologies Inc., which audits online publishers for accuracy and has been critical of big tech’s response to fake news. She’s also on Ofcom’s content board, but will step down when she takes her new position next week. The regulator confirmed her appointment in response to questions from Bloomberg.
She’ll play a key role in Ofcom’s expanded remit after the U.K.’s proposed Online Safety Bill goes into effect later this year, pending approval. The legislation will compel Silicon Valley giants to share information about content on their platforms -- a shift from the status quo where the companies provide it voluntarily -- and aims to protect people from illegal and harmful content online.
As it stands, the bill will require digital platforms to limit and remove offending content, and give Ofcom the power to fine offenders as much as 10% of annual revenues. Harling will work alongside officials who will focus on other aspects of the bill, such as child safety.
Read More: U.K. Sets Out Sweeping Law to Curb Illegal and Harmful Content
Harling and NewsGuard have criticized Facebook’s attempts to curb misinformation in particular. She recently argued the long-running debate over whether former U.S. President Donald Trump should be banned from Facebook showed social media companies are “entirely incapable of regulating themselves,” in a May opinion article in the City AM newspaper.
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