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Social Media: Females

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 8604, tabled on 27 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential for the instream payment functionality of (a) OnlyFans and (b) other similar subscription social platforms incentivising young women into taking riskier behaviour online.

Answered on

7 June 2021

OnlyFans have failed to properly protect children and this is completely unacceptable. Our new laws will make sure this no longer happens. The Online Safety Bill will deliver the most comprehensive approach in the world to protecting children online. The draft Online Safety Bill, published on May 12, will ensure companies design their platforms to be safer for users.

The strongest protections in the legislation are for children and young people. Unless services in scope are able to prove that children are not accessing their service, they will need to conduct a child safety risk assessment and provide safety measures for child users, keeping these under regular review. Companies will have to assess the risk of children encountering harm from illegal content, priority harmful content for children, which will be set out in secondary legislation, as well as any other content they may identify which could cause harm to children. Companies will also need to assess how the design and operation of the service, for example instream payments and live-streaming, may increase or reduce the risks identified.

Furthermore, the UK’s regulatory regime for video sharing platforms (VSPs), which was implemented from November 1st 2020, requires all UK-established VSPs to take appropriate measures to protect under-18s from harmful content. Ofcom are actively working with UK-established VSPs to help them understand their duties under this regime. Ofcom are able to take enforcement action against VSPs that have failed to fulfil these duties.

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