PAUL Masterton has pledged to tackle harmful content on social media if he retains his East Renfrewshire seat.

The Tory candidate notably raised the issue of self-harm and cyber bullying in Parliament during his tenure as the area’s MP.

His work influenced the Online Harms White Paper – a cross-government publication which called for a statutory duty of care on social media providers to help to protect users online.

Mr Masterton told the Barrhead News: “The world has changed very much and, for all the good the internet brings, it also brings some drawbacks.

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“The big thing I have been campaigning on was the Online Harms piece. This involves the idea of a statutory duty of care on social media platforms and getting these platforms and sites to accept they have a duty of care to their users.

“If you are someone who is in a bad place in life and searching, say, for information on self-harm, then social media will also suggest more of this to look at.

“We need to get technology companies to take this stuff down and to deal with it more quickly.

“All of the big social media companies can’t just absolve themselves from a duty of care on their sites.”

Meanwhile, Mr Masterton is hoping to unlock the skills of school leavers for the benefit of the local area.

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He said: “The schools here are doing a really great job with lots of kids, in terms of saying ‘you don’t have to go to university, you can do all these other things,’ so rebuilding that value in vocational and skills education is important.

“I speak to hundreds of local businesses and a lot of them say they can’t always find the young people with the skills they need.

“We have to improve dialogue between businesses and schools.”