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Reddit takes legal action against Coimisiún na Meán over new online measures

US social media group takes judicial review over designation as ‘video-sharing platform’ for regulation purposes

US social media group Reddit is taking a High Court action against Ireland’s media regulator over new measures to protect children from online bullying and content promoting eating disorders or suicide.

The judicial review case is the first since Coimisiún na Meán designated 10 mainly American social media groups as “video-sharing platforms” to be regulated under a new safety code that is supposed to keep children safe when they use the internet.

Although the company declined to comment on the reasons for the case, the action suggests a backlash against enforcement measures that could lead to fines of up to €20 million being imposed against platforms that violate child safety.

Such penalties can be levied against companies found to have failed to protect children from cyberbullying or content that encourages eating disorders and self-harm.


Reddit, based in San Francisco, initiated the action against Coimisiún na Meán on Monday, less than three weeks after the regulator issued a “designation notice” on December 29th.

That formal notice, which cited “consultation with Reddit”, meant the company’s service was under the State’s jurisdiction and subject to a new code of conduct to tighten social media supervision.

Reddit, which claims more than 70 million daily users, established its European headquarters in Dublin in 2019 with support from IDA Ireland, the State’s inward investment agency.

Reddit is represented by solicitors A&L Goodbody in the case. The company acknowledged receiving questions but has yet to respond.

The draft code of conduct, still subject to finalisation, requires platforms to use robust age verification technology to ensure children are not exposed to inappropriate content such as pornography.

Platforms are also to be required to give parents tools to ensure children do not encounter illegal or harmful content online.

In addition, they will be required to prevent the uploading or sharing of illegal content such as videos inciting viewers to hatred or violence.

Coimisiún na Meán had nothing to say on the Reddit case. “The Coimisiún won’t be commenting on matters that are before the courts.”

The other designated platforms are: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Udemy, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and X, formerly known as Twitter.

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Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times