Your list of Online Harms to protect your users against

Your app/platform/website/service is a force for good, right? I’ll assume so (if it’s not, you’re on the wrong side of us, and your time is up!) because generally developers, product managers, entrepreneurs and customer services are out there to add value and delight their customers. So, you may not be planning to have to spend your scarce development effort on not just protecting your platform from cyber attack, but from protecting your users from other users and threat actors. It’s an unfortunate fact of the modern internet that bad actors are out there, and the chances are they will use your platform to attach other people.

So, your first question might be…what is it I need to safeguard my users against?

Great question, and there was a time when that mostly came down to removing profanity (bad language) and (perhaps) ensuring their was no abuse or harassment going on. Then came the widespread problem of Online Child Sexual Exploitation Online (OCSE) and (if you allow file exchange) the transferring and distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

But it doesn’t stop there. The recent Online Harms White Paper (OHWP) identified 29 harms and describes the list as “neither exhaustive nor fixed”.

  • …advocacy of self-harm
  • …extremist content and activity
  • …promotion of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • —etc (29 at the moment…)

But identifying online harms and coming up with mitigations is not your day job, so how we thought we would make your life a lot easier. Step 1 was to creat a place where you could see the full list of identified harms, with (some sort of!)* definition.

That’s why we have release the Online Harms Catalogue

This is only a start of the resources we plan to provide to make your life easier in providing a great technology response.

We’re happy to work with you to provide mitigations for all of these. Some will be technology, some will be process and others may simply be a tweak in your policy, but we believe that knowing what you need to guard against is the first step in providing a response.

Do get in touch if we can help you.

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