Consultation outcome

Online Harms White Paper

This was published under the 2016 to 2019 May Conservative government
This consultation has concluded

Read the full outcome

The government report on transparency reporting in relation to online harms - PDF version

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Detail of outcome

This is the full government response to the Online Harms White Paper public consultation. It details the government response to the consultation and follows the publication of the initial government response in February 2020. The first Government Report on Transparency Reporting in relation to Online Harms, published alongside this response, sets out the recommendations of the multi-stakeholder Transparency Working Group, established by the government in October 2019.

The online harms interim codes of practice are also published alongside the full government response. The interim codes provide voluntary guidance for companies to help them mitigate the range of risks arising from online terrorist content and activity and child sexual exploitation and abuse, ahead of the online harms regulator becoming operational.

Feedback received

Detail of feedback received

This initial government response to the Online Harms White Paper provides an overview of the consultation responses and wider engagement on the proposals. It includes an in-depth breakdown of the responses to each of the 18 consultation questions asked in relation to the White Paper proposals, and an overview of the feedback in response to our engagement with stakeholders.

Original consultation


The Online Harms White Paper sets out the government’s plans for a world-leading package of measures to keep UK users safe online.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

The Online Harms White Paper sets out the government’s plans for a world-leading package of online safety measures that also supports innovation and a thriving digital economy. This package comprises legislative and non-legislative measures and will make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially children and other vulnerable groups.

The White Paper proposes establishing in law a new duty of care towards users, which will be overseen by an independent regulator. Companies will be held to account for tackling a comprehensive set of online harms, ranging from illegal activity and content to behaviours which are harmful but not necessarily illegal.

This consultation aims to gather views on various aspects of the government’s plans for regulation and tackling online harms, including:

  • the online services in scope of the regulatory framework;
  • options for appointing an independent regulatory body to implement, oversee and enforce the new regulatory framework;
  • the enforcement powers of an independent regulatory body;
  • potential redress mechanisms for online users; and
  • measures to ensure regulation is targeted and proportionate for industry.

This is an open public consultation. We particularly encourage responses from organisations, companies and others with relevant views, insights or evidence.

This consultation closes at 23:59, 1 July 2019.

An easy read version of the Executive Summary will be available shortly.


Online Harms White Paper

Updates to this page

Published 8 April 2019
Last updated 15 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Published Online Harms White Paper: Full government response to the consultation and the Government report on transparency reporting in relation to online harms.

  2. Published Online Harms White Paper - Initial consultation response.

  3. Added Easy Read version of the Online Harms White Paper.

  4. HTML version of White Paper added.

  5. First published.

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