Over 70% of adults want social networks to face criminal sanctions

Our #WildWestWeb campaign calls for statutory regulation to make social networks safer.

Boy looking at phone

A new survey1 commissioned by the NSPCC, which surveyed more than 2,000 adults, reveals:

  • over three quarters of British adults agree that directors of tech companies should face criminal prosecution for gross breaches of child safety

  • 85% agree that social networks should face corporate prosecution for significant breaches.

These figures come just days after the Government released its Online Harms White Paper which outlines detailed plans for tough new online safety measures.

Our Wild West Web campaign calls for an independent regulator to enforce a legal duty of care on tech compaies to keep users safe on their platforms. We believe criminal sanctions and corporate prosecution are vital for this to be effective.

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Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said:

“The Government’s pledge to bring in independent statutory regulation of social networks is hugely significant but, for effective enforcement, it is vital the regulator has teeth.

“These latest figures show there is overwhelming support for both corporate and individual criminal liability in cases where tech companies significantly fail to protect children from harm.

 “We urge the Government to take this crucial opportunity and decide on legislation that will make tech firms feel the full weight of the law if they fail in their duty of care to children.”


Danielle's story

Danielle was groomed on a social network by a 49-year-old man when she was only 14. Now 22, Danielle speaks out about the abuse, to campaign for tech companies to protect young people on their sites.


Wild West Web: our campaign

We're calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright to stand up for children and introduce tough regulation for social networks. We want:

  • an independent regulator who can put in place mandatory child safety rules for social networks
  • safe accounts for children
  • detailed reporting on how social networks are keeping children safe.

We need your help to ensure children are safe online. Sign our petition and help end the #WildWestWeb.

Sign the petition


  1. The NSPCC commissioned ComRes to conduct the Children & Social Media Research survey. ComRes interviewed 2,070 British adults, between 27 and 28 March 2019. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults by age, gender, region and social grade. Respondents were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statements put to them.