On Sunday the government of Australia said that it will introduce legislation to expose online trolls. Further, it will also hold social media companies responsible for identifying them. This legislation will make social media giants provide details of users who post defamatory comments. In a bid to protect Australians from online abuse and harassment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison led government is keen on brining this law. The introduction of this legislation in the parliament will likely take place in early 2022. Also, PM Scott Morrison and his government will face election in the first half of 2022.
Australia's government says it will introduce legislation to unmask online trolls and hold social media giants like Facebook and Twitter responsible for identifying them https://t.co/WeEjsoUfRb pic.twitter.com/peX7Zw8JQB
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) November 28, 2021
“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others can just anonymously go around and harm people and hurt people, harass them and bully them and sledge them,” Morrison told reporters.” “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,” he added
The new reforms will make clear that, in defamation law, Australians who operate or maintain a social media page are not publishers of comments which others have made. Moreover, the legislation will demand that social media platforms have a nominated entity based in Australia.
- The legislation will require global social media giants to establish a complaints system. Further, this aims to ensure removal of defamatory remarks and identification of trolls with their consent.
- Also, it will introduce new court powers. It will require social media giants to disclose identifying details of trolls, without their consent, to victims.
- The government said that the legislation will ensure Australians and Australian organizations with a social media page are not legally considered ‘publishers’. Therefore, the law will not hold them liable for any defamatory comments posted on their page.
The onus will now be on the social media platforms for defamatory contents posted on their platform and not on the users. Further, the law will also aim to stop people making defamatory comments without disclosing their identity.