Tech Giants to Face Hefty Fines for Failing to Tackle Disinformation in Australia

Tech giants could face hefty fines for disinformation in Australia

Key Points:

  • Australia has proposed legislation that could lead to tech giants, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and TikTok, facing fines of up to five percent of their annual global turnover for failing to tackle disinformation on their platforms.
  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority will receive new powers to force companies to prevent the spreading of misinformation or disinformation and stop it from being monetised.
  • The proposed bill seeks to strengthen the Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation, a voluntary code that has had limited impact since its launch in 2021.
  • The government has expressed concerns that disinformation can threaten public health and safety and undermine trust within the community.
  • The proposed legislation comes amid a surge of misinformation in Australia about a referendum on Indigenous rights later this year.

Stakeholder Comments:

  • Election commissioner Tom Rogers has commented on the increasing aggressive tone of online comments about the referendum process.
  • The government has argued that tackling disinformation is essential to keeping Australians safe online and safeguarding the country’s democracy.
  • Stakeholders have until August to offer their views about the proposed legislation.

Closing Thoughts:

The proposed legislation in Australia is a necessary step in addressing the harmful spread of disinformation on digital platforms. Social media giants have long acted as gatekeepers of information and have been reluctant to take responsibility for the negative impact of their platforms. It is important that this legislation is taken seriously and enforced to ensure the safety of online spaces and the overall wellbeing of communities.

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