Ofcom urges young people to report harmful content

Ofcom, the UK's internet, broadcast, and media literacy regulator, discovered that people spend less than two minutes visiting OnlyFans.

In a report from the regulator, which was shared on Thursday 20 October), OnlyFans, whose visitors spend one minute and 43 seconds on the platform, has introduced a new age verification technology "in response to regulation" for the Online Safety Bill set to be released next year.

However, Ofcom also criticised how some platforms don't have the most "robust measures" when protecting underage users from mature content.

With Twitch, Ofcom said users of any age "can easily watch videos that creators mark as 'mature.'"

The social media platform did share plans with Ofcom to prevent people under 18 from encountering mature content.

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Still, the regulator said it "has concerns that these plans may not fully address this problem and will continue to engage with Twitch on this."

As for Snap, the owners of Snapchat, Ofcom said that it's "not clear that it has a formalized online safety governance structure in place," and the company's decision-making structure is unclear.

Speaking with Bloomberg, a Snap Inc. spokesperson agreed that Ofcom's report addressed the "important industry issues."

"In particular, our approach around moderation of public content, parental tools, and proactive education campaigns are recognized positively in the report," the spokesperson told the outlet by email before adding that they "look forward" to continuing their "constructive partnership with Ofcom."

A Twitch spokesperson told Indy100 that it's too soon to comment on things still in the works, but it has "significant work in progress that will specifically seek to further protect users aged 13-17."

It also said as a live video streaming service, it has "a unique set of safety tools and policies," such as working with experts and organisations that differ from those used by video-on-demand companies.

The spokesperson continued: "These are distinct from those used by video-on-demand services and are best suited to meet the unique challenges of content that evolves in real-time.

"We hold all of our users accountable to a robust set of global Community Guidelines which - among others - prevent nudity, sexually suggestive content, or extreme violence and are enforced through proactive technologies and industry-leading operations for 24/7/365 review of user reports."

The UK is preparing to introduce the Online Safety Bill, a controversial and sweeping new legislation designed to protect the public.

Ofcom created a 112-page report about 19 companies as part of its job enforcing video-sharing platform regulation.

It's a precursor to the grander Online Safety Bill expected to come into play next year. It also shared statistics from Ipsos on the people who use each video-sharing platform.

Indy100 reached out to Snap Inc. for comment.

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