Our Online Harms proposals will go further than the Digital Economy Act’s focus on online pornography on commercial adult sites and provide a higher level of protection for children. Our new approach will include social media companies and all sites on which there is user-generated content, including major pornography sites.
We published the Online Harms Initial Consultation Response in February this year. It was clear that the duty of care would ‘apply to companies that provide services or use functionality on their websites which facilitate the sharing of user generated content or user interactions’. Where pornography sites have such functionalities (including video and image sharing, commenting and live streaming) they will be subject to the duty of care. Our analysis indicates that where commercial pornography sites do not enable user-generated functionalities, they instead usually require payment, providing a deterrent for children from accessing them.