Ofcom consults on video sharing platforms

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UK comms regulator Ofcom is seeking evidence relating to new regulatory requirements that will apply to video-sharing platforms (VSPs), online video service where users can upload and share videos.

Earlier in 2020, the UK Government confirmed the appointment of Ofcom as the regulator for VSPs established in the UK, under revisions to the EU-wide Audiovisual Media Services Directive. Ofcom will be granted new powers this autumn to ensure that VSPs which fall within its jurisdiction have in place appropriate measures to protect young people from potentially harmful content; and measures to protect all users from illegal content and incitement to hatred and violence. Services will also need to ensure standards around advertising are met.

The call for evidence sets out the background, legislative context, and our principles-based approach to VSP regulation in the UK. Ofcom is also required to draw up guidance for VSP providers on how they should practically apply protection measures on their service while safeguarding users’ freedom of expression.

To help inform that guidance, Ofcom would like to hear from platforms, experts, users and other interested parties about current good practice, technical capabilities of VSP services, and any issues and challenges to further its understanding of the sector and the risks of harm.

Ofcom expects to publish its regulatory guidance by summer 2021. Until then, it will work with VSPs as they begin to implement their new compliance processes to ensure that consumers are protected.

This interim framework will be in place until the UK Government’s new online harms regime comes into force, for which it has said it is minded to appoint Ofcom as regulator. If confirmed as the online harms regulator, Ofcom will build on VSP regulation to inform our approach to regulation of services under the new regime.

The call for evidence closes on September 24th.

 


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