The chief executive of Sky has warned that social media has a "dangerous dark side" and welcomed government plans to regulate it.

Jeremy Darroch, 56, told a media and telecoms conference in London that video streaming services such as YouTube and Facebook should be forced to abide by the same content rules as broadcasters.

He said that the social media industry is now shaping how elections are fought and impacting the mental health of our children and should not be given a free pass.

It is illogical that if you watch something on your TV it is highly regulated, but if that video comes through YouTube or Facebook, our policy framework gives it a free pass.

Social media and digital technology can deliver so much good, but we all now accept it has a dangerous dark side.

It needs rules just as much as TV does, or financial services, or any other powerful part of our society, said the chief executive of Sky plc, which owns Sky News.

His comments follow criticism from MPs of social media platforms, including the suggestion that the government should introduce a code of ethics which would legally bind them to remove harmful content.

Although questions have been raised about what harmful content actually is, the government is set to introduce a white paper on the topic in the coming months.

It will be the beginning of new laws which will see social media companies face a mandatory code of conduct, for which they could face fines in incidents of non-compliance.

Mr Darroch also criticised the tax arrangements of large social media companies.

He said: The business models of the technology companies seem to allow them to trade without having the same kinds of obligations as most other companies – like paying tax that society expects and needs.

When paying your taxes, employing people and complying with the law are competitive disadvantages, you know something has got to change.

During his speech, Mr Darroch also updated attendees on the results of Sky’s £30bn takeover by US cable giant Comcast.

He said Sky employees were pleased to have the sale behind us, and added the firms are already seeing clear benefits flowing in both directions.

He said Comcast and Sky were sharing technology expertise, with Sky bringing Comcast’s voice interface to Sky Q later this year.

Comcast is also using Sky’s technology to power its new streaming service in the US next year, Mr Darroch added, and staff were being exchanged between both companies’ offices in the US and Europe.

(c) Sky News 2019: Social media has a ‘dangerous dark side’, warns Sky boss Jeremy Darroch