New online dating industry code to improve safety

Code follows calls from the government for industry to keep people safe from harm.

Online dating is now the most common way to meet a partner in Australia. However people can experience sexual harassment, abusive and threatening language and and other harms when using dating platforms.

A new online dating industry code is set to be adopted by platforms following calls from the Australian Government to develop a world-leading code to improve safety for Australian users.

Developed by an online dating industry working group, which is made up of major online dating companies operating in Australia, the new online dating code was adopted on 30 June 2024.

In line with the government’s request, some of the safety improvements in the Code include commitments to:

  • implement systems to detect potential incidents of online enabled harm
  • take actions against end-users found to have violated online safety policies, including terminating or suspending accounts
  • implementing prominent, clear and transparent complaint and reporting mechanisms for end-users to access
  • provide support resources for Australian users in relation to safe dating practices and online enabled harms
  • publish transparency reports detailing the number of Australian accounts terminated and content moderation processes
  • improve engagement with Australian law enforcement, including proactive escalation of complaints where there is an imminent threat to the safety of a complainant.

The eSafety Commissioner will assess the code’s effectiveness after 9 months operation, and provide advice on whether it is fit for purpose.

If the code does not improve safety outcomes, the government will not hesitate to consider legislative options.

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