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 House on June 23, 2021 in Canberra, Australia.

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Australia is preparing for another showdown with Big Tech — this time over abusive, defamatory posts printed on their platforms.

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

In a landmark resolution, Australia passed a law this year that requires Google and Facebook to pay native media shops and publishers to hyperlink their content material in information feeds or search outcomes.

“Australia has leaned in on the issue of the regulation of social media, and we intend to continue to do so,” Fletcher stated on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

What is being proposed?

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

“We expect a stronger position from the platforms. For a long time, they’ve been getting away with not taking any responsibility in relation to content published on their sites,” Fletcher stated throughout an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday.

The authorities was taking a look at “a whole range of ways” to crack down on the concept that no matter content material is posted on-line might be finished so with impunity, he stated.

‘Coward’s palace’

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described social media as a “coward’s palace” the place customers can cover behind anonymity and “destroy people’s lives and say the most foul and offensive things to people and do so with impunity.”

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

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

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

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