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Parmy Olson

Why Mark Zuckerberg Should Face the Threat of Jail

The UK is poised to threaten social media bosses with prison if they break new safety rules. It’s a sensible idea.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

The UK government is about to do something that will make Silicon Valley shudder, or at least make social media executives think twice about flying over British airspace.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks all but certain to strengthen the UK’s Online Safety Bill with criminal sanctions for social media bosses, after fierce lobbying from the country’s ruling Conservative party. The bill aims to protect under-18s from harmful content; so if regulators find that Instagram has been steering British kids toward material encouraging suicide, Mark Zuckerberg could face up to two years behind bars.