Safety by Design – Keeping platforms safe for users

The internet is an incredible place, and has brought imeasurable good in the world, bit it’s no secret that it’s brought a great deal of harm too. Just as the variety of online benefits increases every day, so do the Online Harms. Even as we write, the UK government is set to release its Online Harms White Paper (OHWP) in which we hope it will enumerate the harms it considers to be tackled. From our research, there appears to be no widely accepted listing of harms, which makes it difficult to tackle them head on. The best we have found so far comes from Ofcom (more on that later).

So, as you may expect, we’re delighted that there are organisations that are providing real, quality advice on measures that companies can take to keep their platform safe.

Whilst not released yet, I’d encourage anyone with a social media element to their platform, or who takes User Generated Content (UGC) to follow the Australian eSafety office for their imminent release of the Safety by Design framework.

We’ll keep you posted.

How to make your website safer for humans – the basics in the UK

We often have conversations with small platform and service providers that are starting to think about making their service a safer place for their users. This applies to almost all types of website and internet based services, but in particular those that provide some social media function, some chat platform or those with User Generated Content (UGC).

One of the first things that is mentioned is the lack of clear guidance available on what the service or platform’s responsibilities are and what steps they should be taking.

A good place to start in the UK is the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and the principles they provide

Take a look at the HTML version here.

Whilst this is targeted towards protecting children online, it is sound advice for any platform or service seeking to protect users online.

We’ll unpack more on this in later posts, but if you’re looking at their advice (for example):

…use tools such as search algorithms to look for slang words typically used by children and young people, and to identify children under 13 who may have lied about their age at registration

The you may also want to take a look at our Online Safety Content Moderation Company list.