Ofcom: call for evidence on research to categorise regulated services

posted on 18 July, 2023   (public)

Preparing to regulate Online Safety

On 11 July 2023, Ofcom published a call for evidence on the research it needs to carry out to prepare advice for the UK Government on categorising regulated services under new Online Safety laws.

The Online Safety Bill, which is currently at the final stages of the parliamentary process (Report stage in the House of Lords), will require certain online services (social media sites, messaging apps and search engines) to:

  • identify risks to people and
  • have measures in place for protecting them from certain types of harm online.

Ofcom will set out guidance and codes of practice on how companies can comply with their duties.

The role of categorisation


Websites and apps that are in scope will have to protect all their users in the UK from illegal content and, where applicable, protect children from certain online harms. Some regulated services will be designated category 1, 2A or 2B services if they meet certain thresholds set out in secondary legislation. These services will be required to comply with additional online safety duties.

  • Once the new laws are enacted, Ofcom will be required to carry out research to help advise Government on the thresholds it sets in secondary legislation.
  • Ofcom will then produce a list of categorised services based on these thresholds.
  • Another call for evidence is expected later this year on the duties that will apply to categorised services.


This time, Ofcom is particularly interested in input from industry on how companies measure user numbers on the relevant user-to-user parts of their services.


Deadline for submitting responses to the call for evidence: 5pm on 12 September 2023 
For immediate questions about the document or to submit a response to Ofcom's call for evidence:


Source: Ofcom