New report into reporting harmful online content

The UK Safer Internet Centre has published ‘Through These Walls’, its annual report into harmful online content.

The report sets out that 2020 saw a steep rise in harmful content during the coronavirus pandemic.

It also highlights that more and more people are aware of how to identify and raise incidents with an official dispute resolution service, such as Report Harmful Content (RHC).

RHC is provided by UK Safer Internet Centre and operated by SWGfL.

From January to December 2020 the RHC website received 17,406 visitors and dealt with 644 unique cases, a 292% rise on the previous pilot year. 

According to the ‘Through These Walls’ report, the age group most likely to report to RHC was 19–30 (268 reports), followed by 31–50 (209 reports).

The report highlights that:

  • One in three incidents of the harmful online content reported involved bullying or harassment 
  • There was a 225% increase in ‘hate speech’ reported 
  • Domestic abuse trend finds 75% of perpetrators were personally known to the victim, and three-quarters of reports were made by women

The report also sets out the the most common types of harmful content flagged to the a safe, impartial and effective platform:

  • abuse
  • bullying and harassment
  • threats
  • impersonation
  • unwanted sexual advances
  • violent content
  • self-harm/suicide content
  • pornographic content.

RHC acts in a mediatory dispute resolution role with a number of industry platforms, including: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Roblox, TikTok, Discord, Twitch, Match Group (which includes Match, OK Cupid, Ourtime, Tinder, PoF and Twoo), Microsoft (which includes LinkedIn, Bing, Xbox, Skype and Minecraft) and Google (which includes YouTube, YouTube Kids, Google Search and Blogger ).

Read or download the ‘Through These Walls’ report and find out more about reporting harmful online content through the Report Harmful Content website and the UK Safer Internet Centre website.

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