Ministers want to crack down on cyber-bullying and exploitation by consulting with social media platforms and others about how to better protect children and young people.
Plans include better education, a new code of practice, a levy on companies and an annual internet safety transparency report.
Karen Bradley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Government is considering the status of Facebook and other online companies.
She said: “We are looking at their role and their responsibilities and we are looking at what their status should be.
“They are not legally publishers at this stage but we are looking at this issue.”
Meanwhile, she insisted the Tories were not “backing away” from a manifesto commitment to legislate to impose a levy on social media companies as she said a voluntary scheme could be preferable.
She said: “We are consulting on what is the best way to do this and if the best way to do this is to legislate then of course we will legislate.
“But if we can do it without legislating, which is quicker, more effective, gets a better result for everybody, then let’s not put ideology in front of actually delivering.”
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