Austrália, News, Inglês


Elon Musk “has got to comply with Australian law”, the Coalition has decreed, after the federal government flagged tougher laws to crack down on social media giants to force them to remove violent content and misinformation.

Mr Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, has been accused of acting “above the law” after he announced the platform would challenge orders by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner to remove footage from Sydney’s stabbing attacks.

In response, X accused the online safety regulator of “global censorship” and said it did not believe the orders were lawful.

The spat has renewed the Albanese government’s push for misinformation laws that were shelved late last year.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said X had become a “playground for criminals and cranks” and a “factory for trolls and bots and misinformation” and vowed to “fight” the social media.

Meanwhile, the Coalition’s communications spokesman David Coleman said the social media giant had to play by the rules.

“We know we can’t rely on social media companies … We can’t trust them,” he said.

“This material (from the stabbings) is really disturbing content, and not only are adults seeing it, but kids are.

“That’s why the Online Safety Act is so important for the Commissioner to say that’s not acceptable.”

Calls to enforce tougher penalties on tech companies have grown after distressing images of the livestreamed stabbing of a Christian bishop and a knife attack in Bondi Junction two days earlier have been widely accessed across social media sites.

The unrelated incidents have sparked debate about the spread of misinformation after false claims about each attacker’s motive and identity rapidly circulated online.

Anthony Albanese said companies had a “social responsibility” to remove the content if requested by the eSafety Commissioner.

“I find it extraordinary that X chose not to comply and are trying to argue their case,” he told reporters in Mackay.

“This isn’t about freedom of expression.

“This is about the dangerous implications that can occur when things that are simply not true are replicated and weaponised in order to cause division and, in this case, to promote negative statements and potentially to just inflame what was a very difficult situation.”

On Sunday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton left the door open to backing the misinformation laws he previously described as “Orwellian” if they struck the right balance.

Foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham reiterated his party would back moves to “put in place the types of powers or penalties that make social media companies pay attention”.

“The idea that it is ‘censorship’ to say that imagery of a terrorist attack, of a stabbing incident, should not be able to be broadcast in an unfiltered way for all to see, children to access and otherwise, is an insulting and offensive argument,” he told the ABC.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young likened Mr Musk to a “cowboy” in the “wild west online”.

“The problem we have is that for far too long these big tech giants have gotten away with little to no regulation, they don’t pay tax, and no wonder they think they can give a middle finger to the government,” she told the ABC.

“It is the wild west online and it’s just not on … no wonder that cowboys like Elon Musk think that they can keep on making money and profiting off outrage and hatred.”

Mr Jones earlier also had choice words for Meta, who is ending deals to pay Australian outlets for news content, as being more interested in taking journalists off the platform than criminals.

“None of these places are above the law. They’re not a sovereign state,” he told ABC Radio.

“They can’t be a lawless program, a playground for criminals and cranks. New laws need to be put in place, and this government is determined to do that.”

Mr Jones also slammed the tech giants for not doing enough to combat scams on their platforms, suggesting a mandatory code of conduct could be on its way.

“For parts of industry, not all of it, to say ‘don’t worry, just leave it to us and we’ll put in place voluntary codes’, give me a break,” he said.

“They’ve had forever to put in place mechanisms that would work and, as I’ve said, (they are) more determined to remove journalists from their platform than criminals.

“I think we know where the priorities lie, and it’s not in protecting the users of Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and places like this.”

Read related topics:Elon Musk




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