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Australian government announces anti-trolling laws

The Australian government has announced landmark legislation to crack down on abuse and bullying on social media.

Published: 29th November 2021 02:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2021 02:51 PM   |  A+A-

Social Media

For representational purposes

By ANI

CANBERRA: The Australian government has announced landmark legislation to crack down on abuse and bullying on social media.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday released the social media and anti-trolling legislation, which he said would be introduced to the parliament.

Under the legislation, social media companies would be considered publishers and can be held liable for defamatory comments posted on their platforms.

According to the government, the liability could be avoided if they provide information so that a victim could identify and commence defamation proceedings against the troll. Morrison said the proposed laws were about enforcing consistent rules online and in the real world.

"The rules that exist in the real world must exist in the digital and online world," he told reporters. "The online world shouldn't 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."

If passed by Parliament, the new law would allow victims of defamatory online comments to resolve disputes by using a new complaints process of the social media platform to demand removal of the remarks and identification the trolls.

If the platform fails to comply the complainant can ask for the personal details of the poster. If those details are not provided a court order can be made forcing their release, opening up the possibility of defamation proceedings.

Morrison said the government would support initial test cases to set a legal precedent. "We will back them in the courts and we will take them on. We will take them on in the parliament, and we will take them on in the courts because I want to ensure our kids are safe," he said.



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