Social media service Tier scheme

The Tier scheme—overview

The Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (the Act) establishes a two-tier scheme for the removal from social media services of cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child.

The Tier scheme forms a key component of the new complaints system aimed at providing children and young people with a pathway for the removal of potentially harmful cyberbullying material.

How does the Tier scheme work?

In summary, the Act envisages that all social media services accessible to Australian children will have a complaints management system, terms of use which sufficiently prohibit cyberbullying material and a contact point for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to refer complaints that users consider have not been adequately dealt with.

Social media services work with the Office on a co-operative basis to remove serious cyberbullying material targeted at a child.

Any social media services may volunteer to participate in Tier 1 including small social media services and the Commissioner can make a recommendation that large social media services be declared Tier 2. Tier 2 social media services are subject to legally binding notices and penalties.

Our social media partners who participate in the Tier scheme are listed on the Social media partners page.

Social media service definition

For the purpose of the Tier scheme, a social media service includes any electronic service that has the following features:

  • has the sole or primary purpose of enabling social interaction between two or more end users
  • allows end users to link to or interact with other end users and
  • allows end users to post material on the service.

Under section 9, the Commissioner may declare in writing that a service is exempt from this definition if:

  • none of the material is accessible or delivered to end users in Australia
  • an electronic service has controls on who can access or be delivered the material provided on the service or the material that can be posted on the service
  • these controls are effective in achieving the result that none of the material provided on the service could be cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child.

Cyberbullying material targeting an Australian child

Section 5 of the Act provides that:

5 Cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child

  1. For the purposes of this Act, if material satisfies the following conditions:
    1. the material is provided on a social media service or relevant electronic service;
    2. an ordinary reasonable person would conclude that:
      1. it is likely that the material was intended to have an effect on a particular Australian child; and
      2. the material would be likely to have the effect on the Australian child of seriously threatening, seriously intimidating, seriously harassing or seriously humiliating the Australian child;
    3. such other conditions (if any) as are set out in the legislative rules;then:
    4. the material is cyberbullying material targeted at the Australian child; and
    5. the Australian child is the target of the material.


This information is general in nature and is made available to social media service providers.

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