US social media group Reddit has said it is seeking a judicial review of the decision by Ireland’s media regulator to include it in a list of 10 “video-sharing platforms” to be regulated under a new safety code because it does not believe it should have been included alongside the likes of YouTube and TikTok.
The company says it does not regard itself as a video hosting platform and so does not believe it should have been made subject of a new code to protect children from online bullying and content promoting eating disorders or suicide.
The move by Coimisiún na Meán is intended to form part of Ireland’s overall online safety framework, taking effect from February this year, and is based on the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022, the EU Digital Services Act and the EU Terrorist Content Online Regulation.
Potential penalties for breaches of the code include fines of up to €20 million to be imposed on platforms that violate child safety.
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 the new code of conduct intended to tighten social media supervision.
The other designated platforms are: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Udemy, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and X, formerly known as Twitter.
On Wednesday, however, the company said that “while Reddit encourages thoughtful regulation, we respectfully disagree with the Commission’s designation of Reddit as a video sharing platform service.
“Reddit is a predominately text-based discussion platform, and we believe that links to videos uploaded to other platforms should not be within scope of the EU legislation at issue, which is targeted at video hosting platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
“We hope to get clarification from the court on questions of interpretation that we believe could have broadly sweeping implications for the internet.”
It is understood the firm, which claims more than 70 million daily users and which established its European headquarters in Dublin in 2019, believes the reasoning behind the commission’s decision to exclude a range of other platforms Reddit believes can be more accurately described as video sharing in nature, was also flawed.
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.