Ciaran Moore: Both the Dáil and Westminster are currently examining laws to deal with Online Safety, and examining ways to regulate the internet companies which have such a huge impact on our lives. Yet the debates in both parliaments miss out on a key issue – the workers who help make the internet safer.
Facebook whistleblowers have given evidence on the known impact of the company’s products both on our democracies and on the mental health of users, in particular young people. It is important that the regulation in Ireland and the UK doesn’t merely identify content which is harmful, but also the practices of companies such as Facebook, Google or TikTok in designing algorithms that put content onto our phones and computers which can cause harm – whether it is cyberbullying, suicide or self-harm promotion. This is a complex area where rights to expression and freedom of speech need to be balanced against the impact of large amounts of distressing content delivered to vulnerable people. But some of the most vulnerable people in our communities need more support than is there at present, and the establishment of an Online Safety Commissioner is an important and welcome step.Continue reading “Why Online Safety is a workers’ rights issue”