A group of MPs has called on the government to tax the profits of social media businesses.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing recently published a report which outlined the impact of social media on the health of young people.
The group has suggested creating a Social Media Health Alliance, which would be funded by a 0.5% tax on the profits of social media companies. MPs hope that the money would be used to fund research and help ‘draw up clearer guidance’ on the impact of social media on health and wellbeing.
Commenting on the issue, Chris Elmore MP, Chair of the APPG on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, said: ‘For far too long social media companies have been allowed to operate in an online ‘Wild West’.
‘And it is in this lawless landscape that our children currently work and play online. This cannot continue. As the report makes clear, now is the time for the government to take action.’
A government spokesperson responded: ‘The government will soon publish a White Paper, which will set out the responsibilities of online platforms, how these responsibilities should be met and what would happen if they are not.’
The government plans to implement a so-called Digital Services Tax (DST). The DST is set to take effect from April 2020, and will apply a 2% tax to the revenues of certain digital businesses.