Australia to Force Internet Companies to Reveal How They Handle Misinformation

Australia’s media regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has formulated new laws which will push internet and social media companies to share data on how they have handled misinformation and disinformation across their platform under the new laws.

This move will increase efforts by the government of Australia on cracking down misinformation in big tech and enable the government to enforce an internet industry code on uncooperative platforms.

Just like many authorities around the world Australia is also trying to scale down spread of misinformation and fake news across the internet and social media platforms.

These laws were formulated after ACMA conducted a probe and established that four-fifths of Australian adults had experienced misinformation about COVID-19 and 76% thought online platforms should do more to cut the amount of false and misleading content online.

Digital platforms must take responsibility for what is on their sites and take action when harmful or misleading content appears,” said Australia’s communications Minister, Paul Fletcher.

ACMA says the fake information normally starts with highly emotive and engaging posts within small online conspiracy groups and subsequently amplified by international influencers, local public figures, and by coverage in the media.

The conspiracy groups mostly urged people to join relatively ‘smaller’ social platforms with less moderation policies like Telegram. ACMA says that if such platforms fail to abide by set content guidelines then they may present a higher risk to the Australian community.

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