New Laws in Australia to Force Media Platforms to Unmask Online Trolls

In a ruling that has caused some news companies like CNN to deny Australians access to their Facebook pages, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday that his government will introduce news legislation to force social media giants provide details of users who post defamatory comments.

Morrison said at a televised press briefing that they shouldn’t allow online world to become a Wild West where anonymous bots, bigots and trolls can go around harming people.

He added that digital platforms must have proper processes to enable the takedown of harmful content, stressing that if they can’t make safe the space they created, than Australia will make them through such legislation.

The new defamation laws Australian PM introduced would force online platforms to reveal the identities of trolls, or else pay the price of defamation.

After the Australia’s highest court ruled that publishers can be held liable for public comments on online forums, the government in Canberra has been looking at the extent of the responsibility of platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, for defamatory material published on their sites.

In line with the new laws, a complaints mechanism will be introduced so anyone that feels defamed, bullied or attacked on social media, will be able to require the platform to take the material down, having, at the same tie, courts at hand to enforce their demands should the social media platform refuse to withdraw the harmful content and force it to provide details of the commenter.

For the cases in which the platform can’t get the poster’s consent to identify him/her, the laws are introducing an “end-user information disclosure order,” giving tech giants the ability to reveal a user’s identity without permission.

Yet, it appears that social networks wouldn’t have to identify trolls located in other countries since the law is specific to Australia.

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