The dedicated media officer will prioritize complaints about social media content related to children

A dedicated media commissioner will give priority to individual complaints about online content related to children.

A group of experts today gave the go-ahead for the creation of an individual complaints office, which will for the first time deal with complaints from citizens about harmful content on social media.

People must first contact the social platform in question and exhaust all avenues regarding their complaint.

They can then file a complaint with the Media Commission, which initially focuses on complaints related to children.

“Such a mechanism does not relieve social media services of their responsibility to operate robust and effective complaints-handling procedures,” Culture Minister Catherine Martin said.

She said additional funds will be made available to the Commission to enable the complaints mechanism to be set up.

The individual complaints office will employ between 100 and 300 people.

It is unclear what the total cost of the Commission to the taxpayer will be.

Ms Martin said if complaints are upheld, the content would have to be removed under a “content restriction order”. If this is not done by the social media companies, it could be considered a breach of the law.

Social media companies are required to adhere to a set of rules, or “binding online safety codes,” first drafted by the commission.

Social media companies must then subscribe to this security code.

If they don’t follow this safety code, the state can fine companies 10 percent of their annual turnover or €10 million, whichever is greater.

Harmful content, including those related to cyberbullying, self-harm, suicide, or promoting eating disorders, will be banned.

Children’s Rights Alliance executive director Tanya Ward said: “The release of the expert group’s report recommending the introduction of an individual grievance mechanism is a landmark change in the way we protect children and young people online.

“Introducing an individual grievance mechanism into the Online Safety and Media Regulations (OSMR) bill will create an important safety net for children and young people and give platforms the responsibility to make their services a safer space for children.

“Over the past decade, big tech, online and media companies have rapidly revolutionized their services in Ireland and our laws have not kept pace. Now the government has a real chance to revolutionize the way these platforms serve the best interests of the people who use them.

“Ireland can be at the forefront of the global big tech regulation movement aimed at holding online services accountable, but to do so our laws need to be ambitious. They need to set a high standard of safety, legal protection, accountability and transparency for all platforms that operate here and want to hold them accountable when they don’t meet that standard,” she added. The dedicated media officer will prioritize complaints about social media content related to children

Fry Electronics Team

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