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MNHQ here: Breaking news on the Online Safety Bill

82 replies

JustineMumsnet · 18/03/2022 11:35

Hi all,

As you might have seen, yesterday the Government published the Online Safety Bill, a lengthy piece of legislation designed to tackle online abuse and harm.

Since proposals for the Bill were first introduced, we’ve been raising concerns with MPs and Ministers about how well-meaning but over-reaching legislation could affect sites like Mumsnet, and stop our users talking about the things that matter to them.

And, following our campaigning, we’re pleased to see that some welcome changes have been made to the Bill. Most notably, that sites like Mumsnet will no longer be able to be pressured into removing users’ posts by malicious complaints that say our content is psychologically harmful. Instead, Parliament will now establish what counts as ‘legal but harmful’ content.

But we’re still concerned about how the Bill could affect Mumsnet - and we’re particularly worried about what Parliament will designate as ‘legal but harmful’ content. There are thousands of conversations on Mumsnet every day where women reach out for support after experiencing sexual abuse, or discovering that their kids are struggling with self-harm or eating disorders. Our fear is that blanket definitions of subjects like these as ‘legal but harmful’ could force us to shut those conversations down, meaning that the incredible support that Mumsnet users offer each other in situations like these will be lost.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be talking to Ministers, MPs, Lords and other organisations who share our concerns about the Bill, and doing everything we can to make sure it doesn’t negatively affect Mumsnet users.

Please watch this space for further info - and to find out how you can help us keep the conversations that make Mumsnet so brilliant. You can also sign up to the campaigns mailing list and make sure you never miss an update.

Big thanks,

PS if you’d like to support our campaigning work, sign up to Mumsnet Premium here

OP posts:
RedToothBrush · 21/03/2022 16:30


Legal but harmful is such a dangerous concept - not just in reference to free speech either.

It prevents broad church debates with any controversy whatsoever.

It means you have to talk within pre set parameters.

It kills all proper debate which is actually the thing we should be encouraging because the problem is with closed echo chambers not debate.
AmaryllisNightAndDay · 21/03/2022 17:55

Thank you Justine. Women find support here for some of the most sensitive and difficult problems anyone could ever meet in life, and I would hate to see that restricted or women afraid to talk about them.

PutinIsAWarCriminal · 22/03/2022 06:55

Well done. The Bill is not carefully worded, could result in achieving completely the opposite to its intent. White washing and sanitising women's words is harmful. Its already happened on Twitter.

mamabr · 22/03/2022 16:52

I love this.
Thank you!

filthyflavourz · 22/03/2022 18:46

MN is a compete lifeline - in so many ways. Yes, I’m concerned that difficult discussions may become outlawed…

Madferit · 23/03/2022 02:43

Seems this bill is about censorship as much as anything else, freedom of speech must be defended

Porokh · 23/03/2022 09:17

Thx, its amazing

FlibbertyGiblets · 23/03/2022 20:24

Thank you.

FemaleAndLearning · 23/03/2022 21:28

Thank you. I only came to Mumsnet for the women's rights. I have learnt so much and would hate to lose the honest, intelligent and witty communications.

DrBlackbird · 23/03/2022 21:56


PrelateChuckles · 23/03/2022 22:29


Good to know that you're challenging the bill, Justine, and can see the consequences for this site.

I'm sure we are all pretty au fait now, with impulsive law making having far-reaching implications that need to be addressed.

Thanks for letting us know.

SpinningTheSeedsOfLove · 23/03/2022 23:01

Thanks for challenging all the dreadful stuff in this Bill.

terryleather · 24/03/2022 07:11


If conversations are legal, they're none of the bloody government's business and shouldn't be the subject of legislation.

"Harmful" is too subjective a term for any legislation to be able to cover without giving the state far too much power.

Manderleyagain · 24/03/2022 10:15

Thank you for this.

SpinningTheSeedsOfLove · 24/03/2022 10:28

Who determines 'harmful'? Crackpot MPs like Crispin Blunt who regularly tries to shut women down?

Thanks again to MNHQ for challenging this Bill.

BenCooperisaGod · 24/03/2022 11:21

Thankyou @JustineMumsnet. Anything we can do individually?

EmperorsNewClothesBS · 24/03/2022 12:56

@JustineMumsnet I’d also like to know this please

JustineMumsnet · 24/03/2022 15:08


Thankyou *@JustineMumsnet*. Anything we can do individually?

Nothing yet but we'll most likely be asking users to write to their MPs when we've got a better idea of the Bill timetable - do sign up to our campaigns list to be kept updated. Meantime thanks for the support.
OP posts:
BenCooperisaGod · 25/03/2022 06:40

Done. The twitter dudebros will lose their minds when they get wind of this. Men do not like places where women talk and organise. Men do not like mumsnet.

PoshPyjamas · 25/03/2022 09:49

Thank you

RantyAunty · 25/03/2022 12:43

Signed up.
BeardDudes of twitter really hate women only discussions.

MidCenturyClegs · 25/03/2022 15:05

Thanks Justine. We really really need to watch this because we cannot have difficult conversations shut down especially about young girls. @Ereshkigalangcleg @Datun sorry for tagging you but
I didn't know if you'd read this


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Jux · 25/03/2022 15:48

'legal but harmful'' is the same sort of weasly wording as non-crime hate incident. Who are these people who draft legislation? What training do they have?

JazzyBBG · 25/03/2022 16:42

Your think the government would have bigger issues to deal with online... we must be a scary bunch!

malloo · 25/03/2022 21:43

Thanks, I didn't know about the potential impact of this on MN. Let us know if there's anything we can do to help.

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