Responses to transparency notices

Online service providers are required to report on how they are implementing the Basic Online Safety Expectations set out by the Australian Government.

The Basic Online Safety Expectations (known as 'the Expectations') are intended to help keep Australians safe while using social media, messaging and gaming services, as well as other apps and websites. 

Under section 56(2) of the Online Safety Act 2021, eSafety can issue non-periodic reporting notices (or 'transparency notices') requiring online service providers to report on their implementation of the Expectations. 

eSafety can publish summaries of the information received through the notices, making these powers a world-leading tool for improving industry's transparency and accountability.   

The first mandatory responses

On 29 August 2022, eSafety issued the first transparency notices to a selection of online service providers, requiring each one to report on its implementation of the Expectations with respect to child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The transparency notices were given to seven providers:

  • Apple
  • Meta
  • WhatsApp
  • Microsoft
  • Skype
  • Omegle
  • Snap

eSafety received responses from all the providers, giving valuable insights that were not previously available through voluntary initiatives, including providers’ own transparency reports. The responses showed a wide variation in the steps taken to address child sexual exploitation and abuse.

However, eSafety recognises that each provider is different, with different architectures, business models and user bases. This means an intervention, or use of specific tools on one platform, may not be proportionate on another.  

Although the notices covered only a small number of providers, this summary report is a first step towards greater transparency. eSafety will issue further notices with respect to child sexual exploitation and abuse to other providers in 2023, before expanding to transparency notices for other types of online harm.

Download the first transparency report