Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Govt to bring reforms to protect Australians from online trolling

In a world-leading move, the Morrison Government will introduce new court powers to force global social media giants to unmask anonymous online trolls and better protect Australians online.

The reforms will be some of the strongest powers in the world when it comes to tackling damaging comments from anonymous online trolls and holding global social media giants to account.

The reforms will ensure social media companies are considered publishers and can be held liable for defamatory comments posted on their platforms. They can avoid this liability if they provide information that ensures a victim can identify and commence defamation proceedings against the troll.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the rules that exist in the real world should exist online too.

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“Social media can too often be a cowards’ palace, where the anonymous can bully, harass and ruin lives without consequence,” the Prime Minister said.

“We would not accept these faceless attacks in a school, at home, in the office, or on the street. And we must not stand for it online, on our devices and in our homes.

“We cannot allow social media platforms to provide a shield for anonymous trolls to destroy reputations and lives. We cannot allow social media platforms to take no responsibility for the content on their platforms. They cannot enable it, disseminate it, and wash their hands of it. This has to stop.

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“These will be some of the strongest powers to tackle online trolls in the world.

“Anonymous trolls are on notice, you will be named and held to account for what you say. Big tech companies are on notice, remove the shield of anonymity or be held to account for what you publish.

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“In a free society with free speech, you can’t be a coward and attack people and expect not to be held accountable for it.”

The reforms will give victims of defamatory online comments two ways to unmask trolls and resolve disputes.

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