Behavioural insights for online safety: understanding the impact of video sharing platform (VSP) design on user behaviour

20 July 2022

Ofcom has a duty to promote media literacy, including in respect of material available on the internet. Ofcom’s approach to media literacy is multi-dimensional and considers a range of aspects including how the design of services can impact on users’ ability to participate fully and safely online.

In this Economic Discussion Paper, we discuss results from research using online randomised control trials (‘RCTs’) into the impact of behaviourally-informed designs of alert messages and content-reporting mechanisms on video-sharing platforms (VSPs) on user behaviour. Alert messages are used by VSPs to warn users about the potential harmfulness of the content they are about to watch. Content-reporting mechanisms allow users to report potentially harmful content to VSPs. Our research is intended to improve our understanding of the effectiveness of these safety measures. We explore how the design of alert messages and content-reporting mechanisms affects the decisions people make about viewing potentially harmful content and reporting such content.

Read the report

Behavioural insights for online safety: understanding the impact of video sharing platform (VSP) design on user behaviour (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Ofcom Online Trials: Alert messaging of video sharing platforms (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Ofcom Online Trials: Reporting mechanisms of video sharing platforms (PDF, 1.5 MB)