Insights Ofcom publishes discussion paper on “Behavioural insights for online safety: understanding the impact of video sharing platform (VSP) design on user behaviour”


Ofcom has a duty to promote media literacy, including in respect of material available on the internet. The regulator says that its approach to media literacy is “multi-dimensional” and considers a “range of aspects” including how the design of services impacts users’ ability to participate fully and safely online.

In this Economic Discussion Paper, Ofcom discusses results from research using online randomised control trials (RCTs) into the impact of behaviourally informed designs of alert messages and content-reporting mechanisms on VSPs on user behaviour.

Alert messages are used by VSPs to warn users about the potential harmfulness of the content they are about to watch. Content-reporting mechanisms allow users to report potentially harmful content to VSPs.

The research is intended to improve Ofcom’s understanding of the effectiveness of these safety measures. The paper explores how the design of alert messages and content-reporting mechanisms affects the decisions people make about viewing potentially harmful content and reporting such content. To access the discussion paper, click here.