Ofcom will be largely responsible for enforcing the bill

The Online Safety Bill (OSB) is set to become law after passing its final parliamentary hurdle in the House of Lords yesterday (19 September 2023).

The flagship piece of legislation will make social media firms more responsible for the safety of users on their platforms as the government looks to crackdown on harmful internet content.

As part of this, new laws have been added to the bill to help tackle online fraud.

This means that social media platforms will have to stop users being exposed to fraudulent adverts by blocking and removing scams.

Many firms in the insurance industry, such as Aviva and Allianz, had long been campaigning for the bill’s scope to be broadened to include financial scams. 

Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for science, innovation and technology, said: “The OSB is a game-changing piece of legislation.

“Today, this government is taking an enormous step forward in our mission to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.”


After the OSB is given Royal Assent, Ofcom will be largely responsible for enforcing the bill.

If social media platforms do not act to prevent and remove illegal content and stop children seeing material that is harmful to them, they will face significant fines that could reach billions of pounds. 

The government warned that in some cases, their bosses may even face prison.

Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: ”Today is a major milestone in the mission to create a safer life online for children and adults in the UK.

”Everyone at Ofcom feels privileged to be entrusted with this important role, and we’re ready to start implementing these new laws.

”Very soon after the bill receives Royal Assent, we’ll consult on the first set of standards that we’ll expect tech firms to meet in tackling illegal online harms, including child sexual exploitation, fraud and terrorism.”

While social media platforms will be more accountable for harmful content viewed on their platform, Iona Silverman, partner at law firm Freeths, felt more needed to be done to make them comply.

”Ofcom will have powers to fine non-compliant companies up to £18m or 10% of their annual global turnover, whichever is greater,” she said.

“Additionally criminal action can be taken against senior managers who fail to follow information requests from Ofcom.

”The bill is set to become law before the end of 2023, however, my view is that the financial penalties and possible criminal sanctions will not be enough to push social media platforms to fully comply with the requirements of the new bill.”

Insurance Times has contacted Aviva and Allianz for comment following the OSB being passed in the House of Lords.