The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Response to the UK Government’s online harms white paper

We have responded to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s online harms white paper.

The white paper includes proposals to:

  • set up a new online harms regulator
  • make social media companies provide transparency about political advertising

We want the proposals to be well joined-up with electoral and referendum law. If they are, the proposals could:

  • support our aims for transparency and controls on election spending
  • assist political parties and other campaigners to comply with their responsibilities to follow election law
  • help voters to have greater trust that they know who is campaigning for their vote

It is essential that any UK regulator working in the digital sphere has the right enforcement tools to deal with activity online. We urge the Government to take steps to modernise electoral law and our powers, at the same time as tackling online harms.

We need the power to obtain information from social media companies, and want better abilities to share information with other regulators.

These recommendations are set out in more detail in our Digital Campaigning report.

We would welcome further discussions with the UK Government about how to progress with these proposals.