Meta seeks government protection against Rees-Mogg EU law bonfire | Meta

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Facebook and Instagram have asked for government protection against Jacob Rees-Mogg’s bonfire of up to 4,000 EU laws on post-Brexit statute books.

In a letter to a parliamentary committee, to be published on Friday, the parent group has, among other things, Metacalls for laws supporting social media companies to either be “explicitly maintained elsewhere” or “removed from the scope” of the retained EU Law (Repeal and Reform) Bill.

If they are not, please group Facebook would be “less likely to operate in the UK”, wrote Richard Earley, UK public policy manager at Meta.

Labor MP Stella Creasy said the bill could accidentally force social media companies out of the UK.

“Many of us want social media companies to account for how their platforms are used. Shutting them down by default is not the way to do it, but Meta itself says it is possible because of the government’s REUL Act ,” she tweeted.

Representatives of private and public interest groups were invited to contribute to a consultation on the bill earlier in November, with criticism pouring in from organizations ranging from the Institute of Directors, trade unions including Unison, the TUC and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), an organization dedicated to protecting consumer health and safety.

In a letter also published on Friday, CTSI is calling on the government to delay the bill, which warns there are 250 pieces of “vital legislation” covering food and produce safety, animal health and welfare, fair trade, rogue and predatory trade and legal metrology. – the system to enforce weights and measures so that consumers get what they pay for.

CTSI says a survey it conducted found the public was most concerned that food standards would be affected by the bill.

It also found that dealing with EU legislation was last on the list of priorities for voters who were more concerned about the cost of living and the NHS. The controversial bill was the brainchild of former business secretary Rees-Mogg.

The bill is at the committee stage in the Association. It proposes to scrap up to 4,000 laws covering everything from animal testing of cosmetics to holiday pay and passenger compensation rights, unless these are actively saved by a minister. It has been widely criticized as “reckless” and “anti-democratic” by legal experts because of the unprecedented powers it gives ministers.

The speed with which the government wants to push the bill, brought forward by Rees-Mogg in September when he was business minister, has also been criticised.

Under a so-called sunset clause, all EU laws that are not amended or updated by 31 December 2023 will automatically be switched off.

This week, the bill was described as “not fit for purpose” by the government’s independent assessor.

Earley wrote to the committee to draw its attention to a set of laws stemming from the 2002 Electronic Commerce Regulations (EC Directive) which are at risk of being amended or scrapped.

The laws contain provisions known as “intermediary liability,” which protect social media companies from being responsible for user behavior and content.

The inclusion of the e-commerce directive within the bill’s scope “will raise serious concerns,” Earley wrote.

If protections for social media operations were not maintained, the “ultimate effect”, he said, was that platforms and websites would be “less likely to want to operate in the UK and may withdraw from making the UK a hub for innovative new products and services in the way the government envisions”.

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