Australia is preparing for another showdown with Big Tech.


Minister of Communications and Arts Paul Fletcher will address the media on June 23, 2021 at the Press Gallery of the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia.

Sam Mooy | Getty Images

Australia is preparing another confrontation with Big Tech — this time around the abusive and defamatory posts published on their platform.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher told CNBC Wednesday that the country is at the “front line” of establishing legal and regulatory frameworks for social media giants and plans to continue to hold them accountable.

In a groundbreaking decision, Australia passed a law this year requiring Google and Facebook to pay local media and publishers to link news feeds and search results content.

“Australia is obsessed with social media regulation issues and will continue to do so,” Fletcher said on CNBC’s SquawkBox Asia.

What are you proposing?

Canberra is exploring a variety of measures that can make social media companies more responsible for defamatory and abusive content posted on their platforms.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday, Fletcher said, “The platform is expected to have a stronger position. They have long escaped without taking any responsibility for the content published on their site. I came. “

He said the government was considering “every way” to crack down on the idea that any content posted online could be done without liability.

“Palace of the Coward”

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described social media as a “coward’s palace.” Users hide behind anonymity and “can destroy people’s lives, tell people the dirtiest and most offensive things, and do so with immunity.”

In such cases, he said, social media companies should be treated as publishers.

The Australian Supreme Court reportedly ruled last month that the media was the “publisher” of suspected defamation comments posted by users on the official Facebook page.

But the ruling didn’t see if Facebook itself was responsible, Fletcher told CNBC.

Australia is preparing for another showdown with Big Tech

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