Michelle Rowland, Australia’s Minister for Communications, has called on online dating platforms to develop a voluntary code of practice to improve user safety. She stated that dating platforms would be in charge of drafting and adopting these new safety commitments.
In a recent press conference, Minister Rowland shared that she has written to the most popular online dating platforms in Australia to encourage them to follow new safety commitments.
These commitments could potentially include further engagement with law enforcement, supporting at-risk users, improving safety policies, safety by design, child safety frameworks, greater transparency about harms, and interventions with perpetrators.
The Minister set the deadline for this new code of practice as 30th June 2024, saying that regulations and legislative measures may come if the deadline is not met.
This comes after a Roundtable held in January 2023 between government officials and online dating platforms. Minister Rowland also requested and received detailed information from dating platforms regarding their safety measures and the harms they identify.
This new call for a voluntary code of practice is the latest step in the Australian government’s ongoing mission to create a safer online environment for Australian singles.
The Minister shared that this new commitments should be crafted between the industry, the Australian eSafety commissioner, policing authorities, and the Australian sector for family, domestic, and sexual violence.
Minister Rowland shared that these new measures were made voluntary so as to not stifle innovation. She said the government wants “to have a graduated and staged approach to how regulatory intervention is done”, but that “if this does not deliver improved safety for Australian users, we will have no hesitation in taking this further”.