Online Nation


Online Nation is an annual report that looks at what people are doing online, how they are served by online content providers and platforms, and their attitudes to and experiences of using the internet.

Read the full report

Online Nation 2021 (PDF, 7.2 MB)

Ein Gwlad Ar-lein 2021 – Trosolwg Cymraeg (PDF, 1.4 MB)

People’s experience of video-sharing platforms

Ofcom recently did some research to understand people’s experience of  Video-sharing platforms (VSPs), through a mixture of online surveys and talking directly to users and creators. This video describes the research and summaries its findings.

The research found that nearly all internet users had used at least one VSP, with the majority of platform users having seen or experienced something potentially harmful. The research also found that when people encounter harmful content, they are not always sure how to report it or what happens when they do.

Pilot Online Harms Survey 2020/21

In December 2020, the Government confirmed its intention to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms in the UK.

This means we will take on new responsibilities to protect children and vulnerable people when they are online and give everybody greater confidence to enjoy the benefits of being online safely.

We are now stepping up our work on online safety and will work with the Government and Parliament as they develop the necessary legislation. As part of this work, we have conducted an online pilot study among 4000 individuals aged 13+, which explored attitudes towards the internet, including views on responsibility when it comes to moderating content and keeping children safe, confidence in staying safe online, exposure, frequency and responses to harm online.

Pilot Online Harms Survey 2020/21 (PDF, 481.8 KB)

Making Sense of Media is Ofcom’s programme of work to help improve the online media literacy of UK adults and children.

Ofcom has a statutory duty to promote media literacy, and the Government intends to further strengthen our role in this area through the Online Safety Bill.

Understanding people’s online habits, behaviours and attitudes is a vital part of these statutory duties. This evidence helps us – and others – identify trends and spot emerging issues.

There are many ways to understand and measure online behaviour, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

We have commissioned three reports which collectively address these issues and provide new insights into online behaviour. They offer a contribution to debates around how to collect and synthesise data; how to understand habits and perceptions about misinformation; and what might be most effective in countering misinformation.

The three reports are:

Automated approaches to measuring online experiences (PDF, 4.1 MB)
This summary report from Faculty provides an assessment of the existing range of online automated tools, within a framework for measuring online experiences. It outlines current providers and the legal, ethical and other considerations to be addressed when using such tools.

Misinformation: A qualitative exploration (PDF, 954.1 KB)
This qualitative research from Yonder provides an in-depth understanding of people who self-identified as either ‘questioning’ or ‘rejecting’ the mainstream media. Our goal was to develop a richer understanding of how such people interact with news and information online, and their opinions and categorisation of various types of misinformation.

Rapid Evidence Assessment on Online Misinformation and Media Literacy (PDF, 1.3 MB)
This review by LSE Consulting (led by Professor Lee Edwards) summarises recent evidence, largely from academic research literature, on work being done in the field of media literacy to address misinformation. It analyses 201 papers following an initial sift of thousands.

We welcome comments and feedback on these reports. If you would like to get in touch, please email makingsenseofmedia@ofcom.org.uk.

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