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Current Affairs

Social media platforms accountable for trolls in Australia

Date: 01 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Australian government released the draft of a Bill to protect users from trolls and make social media companies accountable for the content posted on their platforms.

 

Background

Under the new bill, social media companies will be considered publishers and they can be held liable for defamatory comments.

 

Details

The companies can avoid the liability by providing information that ensures a victim can identify and commence defamation proceedings against the troll.

 

Idea behind the bill

  • The anonymous nature of social media allows individuals to bully, harass and ruin lives without consequence.

  • These faceless attacks cannot be tolerated in schools, workplace or in any other space of life.

 

Provisions

  • Australians with a social media page will not be legally considered publishers of content posted on the platform.

  • Australians can file a complaint if they believe that they are being defamed by material posted on a particular social media service.

  • The provider of the service can be given a defamation notice by an individual, provided they are able to give evidence that the material was the subject of a complaint.

  • A standardized complaints system has to be set up by social media platforms to ensure that defamatory remarks can be removed and trolls can be identified with their consent.

  • Social media companies should disclose details of trolls to victims without consent, allowing a defamation case to be lodged.

 

Reason for bill

  • An Australia High Court had given a judgment that media companies can be held liable for comments that were left by third parties on their social media pages.

  • The court also observed that individuals were responsible for the publication of defamatory ‘comments’ that were posted by third-party Facebook users in response to content.