Outpaced by the development of the internet, current regulatory approaches do not protect users from online harms transmitted over online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. The Draft Online Safety Bill attempts to improve safety online by developing online analogues for responsibility practices, but is limited by a focus on platforms as service providers hosting content. Online safety requires more than safe services, because platforms are more than content hosts. Platforms, in the social interactions they facilitate, establish online spaces that are governed by platform architecture and algorithms. These spaces present online hazards in the ways they curate content and interactions online, establishing environments that enable online harms. Such consequences are a product of the space that enabled them: of unmanaged online hazards. Incorporating platform responsibility for online spaces and their hazards into the Online Safety Bill’s risk assessment duties enables protection from the full extent of online harms.
Luke Price, Platform responsibility for online harms: towards a duty of care for online hazards, Journal of Media Law, https://doi.org/10.1080/17577632.2021.2022331. Published online: 6 January 2022.