Government initiates launch of internet safety strategy and review of social media law

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that there will be a review of the law that relates to social media. The Law Commission will carry out the review this will include an examination of the legislation in which offensive online communications are concerned. The aim of the review is to ensure that laws and technology do not out grow each other and remain up to date.

The Law Commission will review a number of issues. In a legislative context the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003 will be analysed in their capacity to deal with offensive online communications.

Furthermore, the Law Commission will also look at a number of key definitions and meanings such as “grossly offensive” and “sender”.  It is suggested that the evolution of technology has left some definitions confused.

Perhaps one of the biggest areas to be reviewed is the question of the law requiring the prosecution to prove fault or prove intention to send offensive online communications.Â

However, the Law Commission has not been left to do all the work. The Government will introduce a new social media code of practice, this will set out expectations on social media companies.

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