Prohibited offensive and illegal content

Some online content is prohibited under Australian law because it is offensive or illegal. Such material can be found on websites, forums, peer-to-peer networks, and sites providing access to live streamed video. When inadvertently accessed, prohibited offensive and illegal content can be highly distressing – especially for children.

Internet content is regulated by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner (the Office) under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth). The Office has powers to take down prohibited offensive and illegal online content hosted in Australia.

In order to keep the internet safe for all users, you should report prohibited online content.

What is prohibited offensive online content?

Prohibited offensive online content is content that would be classified X18+ or RC (refused classification) by the Classification Board. Material classified R18+ is prohibited if it is not subject to a Restricted Access System, while content classified MA15+ may be prohibited in certain circumstances. In Australia, online content is regulated with reference to the National Classification Scheme

Prohibited offensive content includes:

  • depictions of actual sexual activity between adults
  • videos showing very high-impact violence
  • footage detailing offensive sexual practices
  • material providing detailed instruction in crime.

What is illegal online content?

Some online content is unlawful to possess, produce or distribute under Australian law, including the laws of the States and Territories. Illegal content includes:

You should not search for illegal material online, even if such a search is conducted in good faith.

If you encounter prohibited offensive or illegal online content inadvertently, or suspect that content may be prohibited or illegal, make a report to the eSafety Hotline via the Office’s online content complaints web form.

What is online extremist material?

Extremist material online could include:

  • articles, images, speeches or videos that encourage hate or violence
  • statements or posts made on social media, chat rooms or blogs that encourage hate or violence
  • content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism
  • websites created or hosted by terrorist organisations
  • terrorist training materials
  • suspicious content regarding use or sale of chemicals online
  • videos or images of terrorist attacks

You can report online extremist material to the National Security Hotline by using their online form.