A director of Data Compliance Europe has said he does not believe the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is the right institution to regulate social media.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Simon McGarr said the BAI does not have the right institutional instincts or experience to regulate a completely different form of communication.

Yesterday, the BAI proposed that it be given special powers to regulate harmful online content on social media platforms.

The BAI is proposing it be given the power to issue notices to remove harmful content, develop an online safety code and to promote awareness of online safety in Ireland.

It also proposes being given powers to regulate the activities of video-sharing platforms based in Ireland, such as YouTube and Facebook.

Mr McGarr said the proposal has taken the concept of regulating broadcast and applied it, in some cases, to regulating communications between individuals.

Mr McGarr said the proposal included giving the BAI the power to take down private messages, including private encrypted messages sent via WhatsApp.

He questioned whether this should be allowed, pointing out that we do not open all the envelopes sent through An Post to see if the content is suitable.

Mr McGarr, a solicitor, said some of the BAI arguments are perfectly sensible, but the organisation has gone beyond that and appears to be suggesting that it should be allowed to interpret laws, including European laws, in a way that they believe should be there, rather than what is contained in the directive.

The CEO of the BAI said its proposal to develop a media and online safety commission makes sense from a practical perspective, and provides clarity for audience and users.

Michael O'Keeffe said online safety is a new concept and evolving area and it makes sense to have one body to deal with the issues in future.

Speaking on the same programme, he said that ultimately the BAI would develop online codes of practice and develop an awareness-raising promotion.

Mr O'Keeffe said that more work needed to be done on defining what harmful content was, adding that any new regulator would need significant resources.

"The development of the media and online safety commission made sense from a practical perspective," he said.

"It provides consistency in the way the implementation of provisions of the directive and national legislation around online safety. It provides clarity for audience and users that you know the body that you're going to be dealing with."