Insights Ofcom opens call for evidence on video-sharing platform regulation

Earlier this year, the UK Government confirmed the appointment of Ofcom as the regulator for VSPs established in the UK, under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU), recently revised by Directive 2018/1808/EU. Ofcom will be granted new powers this autumn to ensure that VSPs that fall within its jurisdiction have in place appropriate measures to protect young people from potentially harmful content, as well as measures to protect all users from illegal content and incitement to hatred and violence. Services will also need to ensure standards around advertising are met. Ofcom is therefore seeking evidence relating to new regulatory requirements that will apply to video-sharing platforms (VSPs).

Ofcom’s call for evidence sets out the background, legislative context, and the regulator’s principles-based approach to VSP regulation in the UK. Ofcom is also required to draw up guidance for VSP providers on how they should practically apply protection measures on their service while safeguarding users’ freedom of expression. To help inform that guidance, Ofcom would like to hear from platforms, experts, users and other interested parties about current good practice, technical capabilities of VSP services, and any issues and challenges to further its understanding of the sector and the risks of harm.

Ofcom expects to publish its regulatory guidance by summer 2021. Until then, Ofcom says that it will work with VSPs as they begin to implement their new compliance processes to ensure that consumers are protected. This interim framework will be in place until the UK Government’s new online harms regime comes into force, for which it has said it is minded to appoint Ofcom as regulator. If confirmed as the online harms regulator, Ofcom will build on VSP regulation to inform its approach to regulation of services under the new regime.

The call for evidence closes on Thursday 24 September. To access the call for evidence, click here.