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First Irish online safety code for ‘video-sharing platforms’ moves closer

Video services provided by some of the world’s biggest technology companies are to be subject to new online safety rules in Ireland, under plans unveiled by the country’s media regulator.

Coimisiún na Meán, Ireland’s new body for regulating broadcasters, on-demand services, online media, and supporting media developments, has designated 10 services as ‘video-sharing platform services’ to be governed by a new online safety code (the code).

The regulator announced on 9 January that online video-sharing platform services provided by Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Udemy, TikTok, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit had been designated as services to be governed by the code.

The new code is currently under development and a draft is subject to an ongoing public consultation.   In parallel to that public consultation, the regulator has published a summary of responses (146 pages/1,409 KB) collated following initial inputs from stakeholders.

The new code, when it is finalised, will form part of Ireland’s overall online safety framework. The framework aims to make providers of a range of online services legally accountable for how they keep people safe online, based on the Online and Media Regulation Act 2022 (158 pages/ 976 KB) the EU Digital Services Act (10 pages/ 708 KB), and the EU Terrorist Content Online Regulation (31 pages/ 651KB).

A total of 55 responses were received following a call for input into the first draft of the code, detailing protections industry respondents considered a priority within the code. For example, Children’s Rights Alliance said, “the code should particularly ensure that: the right of the child to protection from abuse and exploitation online is embedded as a key principle; the best interest of every child is a primary consideration in all actions affecting them.” Several industry responses emphasised that the code should ensure protection of minors from content which may impair their physical, mental, or moral development as well as emphasising the need for general public protection against content containing incitement to violence or hatred and any content which is a contravention under EU law, such as public provocation to commit a terrorist office.

Coimisiún a Meán’s ongoing public consultation on the draft code was initially due to close on 19 January 2024, but the regulator has extended the deadline for submissions to 31 January to allow further responses to be considered.

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