Coimisiún na Meán outlines how interested entities can apply for Trusted Flagger status

Under Article 22 of the Digital Services Act, Coimisiún na Meán may award the status of Trusted Flagger. Trusted Flaggers will work within designated areas of expertise to identify illegal content. Where a Trusted Flagger identifies illegal content, they may submit a notice to the relevant online platform. Online platforms will be legally obliged to give their notices priority, and to process and decide on these reports without undue delay.

Bodies such as non-governmental organisations, industry federations and trade associations, members of established fact-checkers networks, trade unions, non-regulatory public entities and private or semi-public bodies may become Trusted Flaggers.

To become a Trusted Flagger, an applicant body must:

  • have expertise and competence for the purposes of detecting, identifying and notifying illegal content;
  • be independent from any provider of online platforms;    
  • carry out its activities for the purposes of submitting notices diligently, accurately and objectively.

Coimisiún na Meán can now award Trusted Flagger status to organisations which meet the above conditions and is encouraging qualified entities to consider applying. We have recently published guidance and an application form on our website and any interested organisations are encouraged to read this guidance and to contact with any questions that they might have.

Coimisiún na Meán marks Safer Internet Day 2024 

Safer Internet Day takes place every February to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all, and especially for children and young people. 

February 6th 2024 is the 21st anniversary of Safer Internet Day, and the first Safer Internet Day since the establishment of Coimisiún na Meán and the appointment of Ireland’s first Online Safety Commissioner, Niamh Hodnett. This year, Coimisiún na Meán is supporting Webwise’s campaign on the theme of ‘Tech in our world’, exploring young people’s views on the role of technology in their lives, recent changes and tech developments and changes young people want to see. 

Online Safety Commissioner Niamh Hodnett said:  

I am delighted to support this year’s Safer Internet Day, which is a great opportunity to reflect on the work being done around the world to create a safer online world, particularly for children. We at Coimisiún na Meán are ready to play our part through the implementation of our Online Safety Framework, as part of the Global Online Safety Regulators Network and with our counterparts in other Member States of the EU through the European Digital Services Board and the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media. Since I started my role in March last year, I have heard from a wide range of groups representing children and young people, including our own Youth Advisory Committee, and we look forward to making a positive impact for them.” 

Coimisiún na Meán is putting its Online Safety Framework into action in 2024. This will bring an end to the era of self-regulation and make online platforms accountable for how they keep their users, especially children, safe online.  Different pieces of legislation will come together to form this overall online safety framework: 

  • The Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022, the basis for An Coimisiún’s Online Safety Code 
  • The EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive 
  • The EU Digital Services Act (fully applicable from February 17th 2024) 
  • The EU Terrorist Content Online Regulation 

Coimisiún na Meán also continues to support Media Literacy Ireland and the Be Media Smart Campaign, to ensure that everyone in Ireland has the skills and confidence to access information online, to understand how digital services work and to manage the risks that people can face online. 

Safer Internet Day in Ireland is coordinated by the Irish Safer Internet Centre, a partnership between Webwise, ISPCC, National Parents Council Primary and, providing a range of complementary online safety services, including an education and awareness centre, child and parent helplines and a hotline. The Centre is coordinated by the Department of Justice and co-funded by the European Union. 

Engagement with Platforms following violent incidents in Dublin last week

As soon as Coimisiún na Meán became aware of the horiffic stabbing incident in Dublin last Thursday, we contacted large platforms to alert them to the incident and raise concerns about the spread of violent imagery and the incitement of hatred and violence online.

On Friday, along with the European Commission, we met with these platforms to get information on how they had responded to the incident. We have continued to speak to the platforms this week. The platforms have shared information about the speed and efficacy of their response, including some broad data on content removals.

The platforms indicated that they responded quickly to the spread of illegal content on their services. However we remain concerned about the spread of misinformation and disinformation online, and its real-world impacts. We expect the platforms to remain vigilant to any use of their service that could lead to hatred or violence and report any evidence of criminal activity to An Garda Síochána.

We remind people to be aware of the risks of disinformation and misinformation online, and to Stop, Think and Check before sharing content with others.

We are following up with the platforms to learn more about their policies and processes for dealing with disinformation and misinformation, so that once our powers are fully in place from February 17th 2024, we can work effectively with the European Commission to keep people safe online.