Open message to apps and online services offering adult encounter services – Keeping users safe

The ODA launched a Framework for User Safety and a Model Code of User Conduct on 30 January 2020. The material is targeted at services and seeks to give them a framework for reviewing their safety arrangements and a template they might find helpful in setting out the behaviours expected or not expected of users online. This is in addition to the standards we published addressing data use, fake profiles and clear commercial terms and our safety advice and guidance for users.

The material is there for use by any dating company irrespective of membership of the ODA. Currently this membership does not extend to services that are sexually explicit in nature and designed to facilitate sexual encounters or provide similar entertainment. This was a decision by our founders based, not on moral judgement, but on a view that there was a material difference between these services and the generality of dating services in terms of their purpose and the nature of the content hosted and posted.

There is no reason, however, to believe those with a wish to scam or harm will not try to do so on adult services. Indeed, services that actively facilitate “intimate” meetings between those who are still strangers have heightened risks for some.

We share a common responsibility for doing what we practically can to protect users. We are, therefore, highlighting again that all the advice and guidance for users and our Framework for User Safety and Model Code for User Conduct are there and free to use by adult as well as mainstream services. We hope that as many adult services as possible will see the benefit in using these going forward.