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Online Safety Act 2023

Overview

In an era dominated by digital interactions, online safety has become a paramount concern for governments, businesses, and individuals alike. Recognising the need for stringent regulations to protect users from harmful content and ensure accountability within the digital realm, the United Kingdom has taken a significant step forward with the introduction of the Online Safety Act 2023. This groundbreaking legislation reshapes the landscape of online platforms, instilling a sense of responsibility and transparency in the way businesses operate and users engage with content.

The Online Safety Act 2023, enacted by the UK government, is a comprehensive framework designed to enhance online safety, protect vulnerable users, and hold digital platforms accountable for the content they host. Its primary objective is to establish a stringent duty of care on online platforms, ensuring they take proactive measures to mitigate risks, eliminate harmful content, and create a safer online environment.

The key requirements of the Act include:

  • Duty of Care: Online platforms, categorised as Category 1 services, are mandated to exercise a duty of care towards their users. They must implement robust measures to safeguard users from harmful content and ensure their safety while using the platform.
  • Prohibited Content: The Act prohibits specific types of content, such as terrorist material and child sexual abuse material. Service providers are required to promptly remove such content and prevent its dissemination on their platforms. User-Generated Content: Platforms must protect users, especially children, from harmful user-generated content. Clear guidelines for permissible content must be established, and mechanisms to remove harmful material promptly are mandatory.
  • Transparency Reports: Category 1 service providers are obligated to publish annual transparency reports. These reports detail the platform’s content moderation efforts, user safety policies, and the effectiveness of their measures, ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • Safety Measures and Policies: Online platforms must implement and publish safety measures and policies to address harmful content and user safety concerns. These policies should be readily accessible to users, outlining the platform’s stance on various types of content.
  • Advertising Offences: The act addresses offences related to online advertisements, ensuring deceptive ads and paid-for content that infringe intellectual property rights are appropriately dealt with. Businesses engaged in online advertising must adhere to regulations, preventing the dissemination of misleading or harmful advertisements.

The Online Safety Act 2023 was passed on the 26th of October 2023 and applies exclusively to the United Kingdom.

online safety act

Does the Online Safety Act 2023 affect my business?

The Online Safety Act 2023 significantly impacts businesses, especially those falling under the Category 1 services designation. Social media platforms, search engines, and interactive services allowing user-generated content bear the weight of these regulations. These businesses must adapt swiftly to comply with the act’s requirements, revolutionising their content moderation processes and ensuring the safety of their users.

The Online Safety Act 2023 marks a pivotal moment in the digital landscape, emphasising the importance of online safety and user protection. By enforcing stringent regulations and holding businesses accountable, the UK government strives to create a safer digital environment for its citizens. As businesses adapt to these regulations, users can look forward to a more secure online experience, fostering trust and confidence in the digital realm.

Do I need the Online Safety Act 2023 in my ISO Compliance Register?

You will need the Online Safety Act 2023 in your  ISO Compliance Register if your business is categorised as Category 1, since the Online Safety Act 2023 targets online platforms falling under Category 1 services. This includes, but is not limited to, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, search engines such as Google, and other interactive services that enable users to generate content, share information, or engage in online discussions.

Legislation related to the Online Safety Act 2023

Legislation related to the Online Safety Act 2023 include:

More information

Visit the Online Safety Act 2023 article on the legislation.gov.uk website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.