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The Code

Aotearoa New Zealand Code of Practice for Online Safety and Harms

ABOUT THE CODE

On July 25th 2022, Netsafe and NZTech launched a new initiative that commits a range of technology companies to reducing the risk of online content that may cause harm to New Zealanders.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Code of Practice for Online Safety and Harms has been adopted by Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Google (YouTube), TikTok, Twitch, and Twitter.

The Code commits signatories to a set of Guiding Principles and Commitments that aims to mitigate the risks and reduce the prevalence of harmful content in seven areas:

  • child sexual exploitation and abuse
  • bullying or harassment
  • hate speech
  • incitement of violence
  • violent or graphic content
  • misinformation
  • disinformation 

The full version of the Code is available for download below:


BACKGROUND

The development of the Code from conceptualisation to the publication of the first draft for public feedback was led by Netsafe and aimed to bring industry together under a set of principles and commitments, as well as provide a best practice self-regulatory framework aimed at enhancing people’s safety and reducing harmful content online.

The intention and development of the Code is encapsulated by four key Māori principles of mahi tahi (solidarity), kauhanganuitanga (balance), mana tangata (humanity) and mana (respect), which are critical to serving the diverse user communities in New Zealand and realising the purpose and aspirations of the Code.

Netsafe first announced the initiative early April 2021 and the Code was made public for feedback in December. Since then, Netsafe has consulted with a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure the code is locally relevant and tackles a broad range of harmful content that are of concern to New Zealanders. Netsafe prepared a report of the feedback received during the public consultation process which is available for download below:

NZTech will be the administrative body responsible for housing the Code within their existing industry association framework.


REPORTS

Google (on behalf of YouTube), Meta (Facebook & Instagram), TikTok, Twitch and Twitter, published their initial reports outlining their efforts towards Code commitments in December 2022. The reports act as a baseline reference point for future reports.

The first annual transparency reports are due in July 2023.


NEXT STEPS

NZTech has appointed Carrie Stoddart-Smith as the interim-Director for the Code, tasked with establishing the Code’s governance framework and complaints mechanism, including through targeted stakeholder engagement.

NZTech expects formal establishment of the governance group in early 2023.


SIGNATORY PARTICIPATION FORMS