Australia to legislate laws to prevent online abuse


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CANBERRA, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Social media platforms would be forced to remove “seriously harmful” content within 24 hours under laws proposed by the Australian government.

Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said on Wednesday that the government would legislate world-first laws to combat the online abuse of adults when Parliament resumes in 2021.

The laws will give Australia’s eSafety Commissioner the power to order the removal of harmful content from social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter within 24 hours.

“The internet has brought great social, educational and economic benefits,” Fletcher said.

“But just as a small proportion of human interactions go wrong offline, so too are there risks online.”

The eSafety Commissioner would have the power to reveal the identity of people behind fake or anonymous accounts and to block access to platforms that “systematically ignore” orders to remove content.

Commissioner Julie Inman Grant warned in April that online bullying and image-based abuse increased significantly during the coronavirus crisis.

“For the month of March we had a 21-percent increase in cyberbullying, we had a 48 percent increase in adult cyber abuse. We had an 86 percent increase in image-based abuse… and we’ve also seen spikes in online child abuse material,” she said.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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