Australia to introduce new legal guidelines to power media platforms to unmask on-line trolls By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man takes a cellphone photo of the ceiling windows at a mall in Sydney, Australia on July 3, 2017. REUTERS / Steven Saphore

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia will put in place laws to get social media giants to provide details on users posting defamatory comments, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

The government has been investigating the extent of responsibility of platforms like Twitter (NYSE 🙂 and Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 for defamatory material posted on their websites, and comes after the country’s highest court ruled that publishers are held liable can post public comments in online forums.

The ruling caused some news outlets like CNN to deny Australians access to their Facebook pages.

“The online world shouldn’t be a wild west where bots and fanatics and trolls and others can roam anonymously and harm people,” said Morrison at a televised press conference.

“That can’t happen in the real world, and there’s no reason it can happen in the digital world.”

The new legislation will introduce a complaint mechanism so that anyone who believes they are being defamed, bullied or attacked on social media can request the platform to remove the material.

If the content is not withdrawn, a lawsuit could force a social media platform to provide information about the commentator.

“Digital platforms – these online businesses – need to have processes in place to allow this content to be removed,” said Morrison.

“They created the space and they have to make it safe, and if they don’t we will create it (through) laws like this.”

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