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Technology Platforms: Transparency and Accountability

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 20 October 2022

7. What steps her Department is taking to increase the transparency and accountability of technology platforms. (901746)

The Government are driving forward a digital regulatory approach that unlocks growth and boosts trust. As part of that, we are taking steps to improve transparency and accountability, including through the Online Safety Bill; data protection legislation that maintains rules for responsible usage; and digital markets legislation, which will promote competition in digital markets.

Does my hon. Friend share my concern at the recent behaviour of PayPal in arbitrarily removing certain accounts of campaigning and journalistic organisations without any warning or explanation? Will he consider how the Online Safety Bill can give greater protection for free speech by increasing the accountability of PayPal, Facebook and the other giant tech platforms?

Absolutely. I agree with my right hon. Friend: it is really important that big tech platforms are transparent and accountable to their users in their terms of service for how they trade. That is important in the principle of how the Online Safety Bill works, both in protecting freedom of speech and in ensuring that companies enforce their platform policies correctly. In terms of digital markets, it is also important that customers know what fair access they have to markets and that they will be treated fairly by platforms, and that the platforms make clear what their terms of service are.