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Australia is preparing for another showdown with Big Tech

Minister for Communications and the Arts Paul Fletcher addresses media within the Press Gallery at Parliament Home on June 23, 2021 in Canberra, Australia.

Sam Mooy | Getty Photos

Australia is making ready for one more showdown with Massive Tech — this time over abusive, defamatory posts revealed on their platforms.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher advised CNBC on Wednesday the nation has been “on the forefront” of creating authorized and regulatory framework for social media giants, and plans to proceed protecting them accountable.

In a landmark choice, Australia handed a legislation this yr that requires Google and Fb to pay native media shops and publishers to hyperlink their content material in information feeds or search outcomes.

“Australia has leaned in on the difficulty of the regulation of social media, and we intend to proceed to take action,” Fletcher stated on CNBC’s “Squawk Field Asia.”

What’s being proposed?

Canberra is contemplating a variety of measures that might maintain social media companies extra accountable for defamatory and abusive content material posted onto their platforms.

“We count on a stronger place from the platforms. For a very long time, they have been getting away with not taking any duty in relation to content material revealed on their websites,” Fletcher stated throughout an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company on Sunday.

The federal government was “an entire vary of the way” to crack down on the concept no matter content material is posted on-line might be achieved so with impunity, he stated.

‘Coward’s palace’

Final week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described social media as a “coward’s palace” the place customers can conceal behind anonymity and “destroy individuals’s lives and say essentially the most foul and offensive issues to individuals and achieve this with impunity.”

In such situations, the social media firms ought to be handled as publishers, he stated.

Australia’s highest courtroom final month reportedly dominated that media shops are “publishers” of allegedly defamatory feedback posted by customers on their official Fb pages — that leaves them open to defamation fits.

However that ruling didn’t have a look at whether or not Fb itself was liable, Fletcher advised CNBC.

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