New Clause 4 - Further duties about terms of service

Online Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 15 Rhagfyr 2022.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

All services

“(1) A provider of a regulated user-to-user service must include clear and accessible provisions in the terms of service informing users about their right to bring a claim for breach of contract if—

(a) regulated user-generated content which they generate, upload or share is taken down, or access to it is restricted, in breach of the terms of service, or

(b) they are suspended or banned from using the service in breach of the terms of service.

Category 1 services

(2) The duties set out in subsections (3) to (7) apply in relation to a Category 1 service, and references in subsections (3) to (9) to ‘provider’ and ‘service’ are to be read accordingly.

(3) A provider must operate a service using proportionate systems and processes designed to ensure that—

(a) if the terms of service state that the provider will take down a particular kind of regulated user-generated content from the service, the provider does take down such content;

(b) if the terms of service state that the provider will restrict users’ access to a particular kind of regulated user-generated content in a specified way, the provider does restrict users’ access to such content in that way;

(c) if the terms of service state cases in which the provider will suspend or ban a user from using the service, the provider does suspend or ban the user in those cases.

(4) A provider must ensure that—

(a) terms of service which make provision about the provider taking down regulated user-generated content from the service or restricting users’ access to such content, or suspending or banning a user from using the service, are—

(i) clear and accessible, and

(ii) written in sufficient detail to enable users to be reasonably certain whether the provider would be justified in taking the specified action in a particular case, and

(b) those terms of service are applied consistently.

(5) A provider must operate a service using systems and processes that allow users and affected persons to easily report—

(a) content which they consider to be relevant content (see section (Interpretation of this Chapter));

(b) a user who they consider should be suspended or banned from using the service in accordance with the terms of service.

(6) A provider must operate a complaints procedure in relation to a service that—

(a) allows for complaints of a kind mentioned in subsection (8) to be made,

(b) provides for appropriate action to be taken by the provider of the service in response to complaints of those kinds, and

(c) is easy to access, easy to use (including by children) and transparent.

(7) A provider must include in the terms of service provisions which are easily accessible (including to children) specifying the policies and processes that govern the handling and resolution of complaints of a kind mentioned in subsection (8).

(8) The kinds of complaints referred to in subsections (6) and (7) are—

(a) complaints by users and affected persons about content present on a service which they consider to be relevant content;

(b) complaints by users and affected persons if they consider that the provider is not complying with a duty set out in any of subsections (1) or (3) to (5);

(c) complaints by a user who has generated, uploaded or shared content on a service if that content is taken down, or access to it is restricted, on the basis that it is relevant content;

(d) complaints by users who have been suspended or banned from using a service.

(9) The duties set out in subsections (3) and (4) do not apply in relation to terms of service which—

(a) make provision of the kind mentioned in section 9(5) (protecting individuals from illegal content) or 11(5) (protecting children from content that is harmful to children), or

(b) deal with the treatment of consumer content.

Further provision

(10) If a person is the provider of more than one regulated user-to-user service or Category 1 service, the duties set out in this section apply in relation to each such service.

(11) The duties set out in this section extend only to the design, operation and use of a service in the United Kingdom, and references to users are to United Kingdom users of a service.

(12) See also section 16 (duties to protect news publisher content).”—

Subsections (3) to (8) of this new clause impose new duties on providers of Category 1 services in relation to terms of service that allow a provider to take down content or restrict users’ access to it, or to suspend or ban users. Such terms of service must be clear and applied consistently. Subsection (1) of the clause contains a duty which, in part, was previously in clause 20 of the Bill.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.