Tapnet Ltd: compliance assurances to protect under-18s from pornographic videos on RevealMe

Published: 27 November 2023
Last updated: 27 November 2023

Assessment of: Tapnet Ltd, with respect to its platform RevealMe

Completion date: 27 November 2023

Summary: On 10 January 2023, Ofcom opened an enforcement programme to look at whether UK-established video-sharing platforms that specialise in adult content have appropriate age assurance measures in place. We have considered the measures that platforms have taken to get assurance of the age of their users, and prevent under-18s from watching pornographic videos.

Our analysis of RevealMe raised concerns that some of its measures were not effectively protecting underage users from this sort of video. Following a period of close engagement with Tapnet, where we discussed compliance with its requirements, it has made some important changes to protect under-18s from harmful material.

Relevant legal provisions: Part 4B of the Communications Act 2003


Ofcom’s role is to ensure video-sharing platforms (VSPs) based in the UK have appropriate systems and processes in place to effectively protect their users from harmful video content in the scope of the VSP regime. This is covered in Part 4B of the Communications Act 2003.

On 10 January 2023, we opened an enforcement programme to look at whether UK-established VSPs that specialise in adult content have appropriate age assurance measures in place, as required under the VSP regime. We assessed the measures taken by platforms to assure the age of their users and prevent users under the age of 18 from accessing videos containing ‘restricted material’, specifically pornographic material.

In addition to undertaking extensive information-gathering, we also worked closely with platforms to better understand their approaches and any challenges they faced when considering implementing age assurance measures.

Our concerns

Our assessment of RevealMe raised concerns about whether Tapnet had done what it should to reduce the risk of under-18s encountering pornographic videos on its platform.

Specifically, we were concerned about whether:

  1. Tapnet had taken such of the measures in Schedule 15A of the Act as are appropriate for the purpose of protecting users under the age of 18 from videos containing restricted material, specifically pornographic content; and/or
  2. any such measures it had taken were being implemented in such a way as to carry out that purpose.

Tapnet’s commitments

In response to our concerns, Tapnet has made significant changes to its access control and age assurance measures. The measures introduced allow:

  • Tapnet to obtain assurance as to the age of RevealMe’s users by requiring them – when entering the site – to verify their age or sign into a registered account in respect of which their age has already been verified; and
  • users to verify their age by submitting valid identification to a third-party automated age verification tool, or by using a credit card to pay.

During our engagement, it became clear that Tapnet would be unable to implement the third-party automated age verification tool within the timeline that Ofcom had requested. However, Tapnet quickly introduced its own interim age verification measure until its longer-term solution was ready to go live. Tapnet also explained that its decision to introduce age verification upon site entry – rather than further along the user journey – was taken partly in order to ready itself for compliance with the online safety rules, under which Tapnet will be regulated when the VSP transition period ends.

Our response

Considering Tapnet’s willingness to improve its systems and processes to directly address our concerns, and our desire to work with platform providers to protect their users, we have decided not to open an investigation into Tapnet’s compliance with its duties under Part 4B of the Communications Act 2003.

We particularly welcome the proactive approach that Tapnet has taken to making improvements. It is the first platform to successfully improve its age assurance measures under our enforcement programme. This is especially noteworthy given our breach finding and penalty determination against Tapnet earlier in the year for failing to respond to a statutory information request.

We will continue to monitor Tapnet to assess whether the changes it has introduced are working effectively, as part of our ongoing supervision of regulated services.

Our enforcement programme also remains open, and we continue to assess the measures that other UK-established platforms have taken to protect under-18s from pornographic material. We intend to provide an update on this programme in due course.

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