Under the Online Safety Act, industry associations developed eight codes of practice to protect Australians from Class 1 content under Australia’s classification scheme and submitted those to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner with a request for registration.
On 1 June 2023, the eSafety Commissioner made a decision to register five of the industry drafted codes for these sections of the online industry:
These codes create community protections for Australians in relation to materials such as child sexual exploitation material, pro-terror content, and extreme crime and violence. The codes will be registered on 16 June 2023 and become enforceable six months after registration. The relevant codes found on this website will be updated for editorials before being finalised.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner will proceed to making Standards for the sections of the industry covered in the codes that were rejected for registration. Further information on which codes will be registered can be found below.
Online Safety Codes
Under the Online Safety Act, the industry associations must develop codes of practice to protect Australians from Class 1 content under Australia’s classification scheme.
On 31 March 2023, industry associations submitted the Consolidated Industry Codes of Practice for the Online Industry, Phase 1 (class 1A and class 1B material) for registration to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.The codes cover participants across eight key sections of the online industry specified in the Act: providers of social media, messaging, search engine and app distribution services, internet and hosting service providers, manufacturers and suppliers of any equipment that connects to the internet, and operators of all websites that can be accessed by Australian users.
On 1 June 2023, the eSafety Commissioner released a decision on the draft codes.
Codes to be registered on 16 June 2023:
Social Media Services Code
Apps Distribution Services Code
Hosting Services Code
Internet Carriage Services Code
These codes will become enforceable six months after registration.
Codes rejected for registration:
Relevant Electronic Services Code
Designated Internet Services Code
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner will now move to develop mandatory and enforceable industry sStandards for Relevant Electronic Services and Designated Internet Services.
The draft Standards, once developed by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, will be subject to a public consultation period of at least 30 days.
Search Engine Services Code
A decision of the Search Engine Services Code has been deferred to allow industry to reflect recent developments in relation to generative AI. The industry associations will submit a revised Search Engine Services Code in the coming weeks. Further information on the codes development process is outlined on this website.
In developing the codes, industry associations worked to reflect the detailed regulatory requirements for the code outlined by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner in their September 2021 position paper.
These are drafts of the industry codes of practice under Online Safety Act on Class 1 content, organised by industry section submitted in March 2023. Note also those codes accepted for registration by the eSafety Commissioner are still in draft form until registered on 16 June 2023. (Minor editorial changes to be expected.)
This is an explanatory paper that explains the approach taken in the draft industry code, which should be read as a companion document to the codes.
This is the regulatory guidance released by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on the requirements for the code.
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
BSA | The Software Alliance
Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association
Digital Industry Group Inc
Interactive Games and Entertainment Association
Frequently Asked Questions
What will this code achieve for consumers concerned about online safety?
Once registered, the codes will be enforceable under the Online Safety Act. In short, the codes create improved standards across the entire online industry to address harmful Class 1 materials.
What types of content are covered under this code? What does 'Class 1' content mean?
Class 1A is any material which:
- promotes or provides instruction of paedophile activity (‘child sexual exploitation’),
- advocates the doing of a terrorist act, including terrorist manifestos (‘pro-terror’),
- describes, depicts, promotes, instructs or otherwise deals with matters of extreme crime, cruelty or violence (including sexual violence) without justification (for example, murder, suicide, torture and rape), (‘extreme crime and violence’).
Class 1B is any material which:
- describes, depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters of crime, cruelty or violence without justification (‘crime and violence’),
- promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime or violence (‘crime and violence’),
- describes, depicts, promotes, instructs or otherwise deals with matters of drug misuse or addiction without justification (‘drug-related content’)
Industry has further developed and defined each subcategory with reference to the national classification scheme. Please see the Head Terms, including Annexure A, for further detail.