In a statement Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, Canberra will soon introduce legislation to make social media giants provide details of users who post defamatory comments.
The development comes at a time when the Australian government is looking to at the extent of the responsibility that can be imposed on social media giants, including Facebook and Twitter for defamatory material published on their platform; the move gained momentum after Australia’s supreme court ruled that publishers can be held liable for public comments on online forums.
The ruling has caused news companies such as CNN to deny Australians access to their Facebook pages.
“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others are anonymously going around and can harm people,” said Morrison. “That is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no case for it to be able to be happening in the digital world.”
Morrison’s government aims to introduce a mechanism for complaints so that if somebody thinks they are being attacked, bullied or defamed on social media, they have a recourse to enable the platform to take down the material.
Following the complaint if the platform does not withdraw the defamatory content, a court process could force the social media platform to provide details of the commenter.
“Digital platforms – these online companies – must have proper processes to enable the takedown of this content,” said Morrison. “They have created the space and they need to make it safe, and if they won’t, we will make them (through) laws such as this.”