TikTok and Snapchat told protect kids from vile content or plug will be pulled

Ofcom has unveiled tough new measures in a crackdown on video sharing sites like TikTok and Snapchat as its figures show a third of users have seen hateful content and one in five have been exposed to racist content

Children need to be protected for vile content (stock image)

Britain’s most popular video sharing sites including TikTok and Snapchat have been ordered to protect kids from harmful content or risk having the plug pulled.

Under tough new measures unveiled by regulator Ofcom, all video sharing platforms (VSPs) will have to clean up their acts to ensure hate videos, footage showing violence, extremism or X-rated content does not make it onto screens in the hands of under 18s.

Ofcom also said all users should be protected from viewing videos likely to incite violence or hate.

Its figures show a third of those on VSPs have seen hateful content, a quarter have been subjected to disturbing footage and one in five have been exposed to racist content.

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TikTok is massively popular with young people


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In a first for Europe, Ofcom has laid down a set of rules to hold VSPs to account and fine those breaching regulations or even suspend the service.

Platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, Vimeo and Twitch are bound by law to protect under 18s from harmful content and shield all users from footage that could incite hatred or violence.

Ofcom said its job was to “enforce the rules set out in legislation” but admitted “the massive volume of online content means it is impossible to prevent every instance of harm”.

Snapchat is all about sending clips immediately


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That is why it has drawn up a set of rules to help VSPs protect users – especially children – and is calling on the sites to make it clear to those uploading footage that content relating to terrorism, sexual abuse of children or racism is a criminal offence.

The regulator wants the platforms to enforce a ban and have an easy reporting and complaints process should anything slip the net.

And it also wants strict policing of adult only sites to block under 18s from accessing them.

Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes said: “Online videos play a huge role in our lives now, particularly for children. But many people see hateful, violent or inappropriate material while using them.

“The platforms where these videos are shared now have a legal duty to take steps to protect their users. So we’re stepping up our oversight of these tech companies, while also gearing up for the task of tackling a much wider range of online harms in the future.”

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