Recent research from Demos, funded by BT, found that there’s a high level of concern among the British public about the potential for online harms. Views varied on the right balance between tackling online harms and protecting online freedoms, and how to strike that balance. But there was a clear desire for shared responsibility on this by the UK Government, online platforms and providers, and individual internet users. 

In another study with the Good Things Foundation, we found that certain groups face greater risks than others and most people don’t know where to find help. There’s also a gap between knowledge and actual behaviours when it comes to staying safe online.

We empower people to keep themselves safe online by offering free tech tools like parental controls for our products. And we support online safety awareness and education through our Skills for Tomorrow programme and our partnership with Internet Matters. We also support wider efforts to keep people safe online while respecting personal freedoms. We provided input to the UK Home Office Select Committee Online Harms Inquiry and welcomed the resulting Government Online Harms White Paper response. We also welcome the forthcoming Online Safety Bill, which we expect to be a significant step forward. 

The rise in misinformation circulating online is drawing increased attention to the issue of balancing freedom of expression while limiting potentially negative impacts. People have a fundamental right to express themselves, but we will block access to illegal content – including malicious traffic, intellectual property violations and images of child sexual abuse flagged by the Internet Watch Foundation. See Appendix for data on the material and sites we’ve blocked in the UK this year. We partner with the Marie Collins Foundation to support children who have been harmed or abused online. Since 2015, its CLICK: Path to Protection programme has trained over 7,000 frontline professionals to help them provide better support for victims and their families.