Australia wants to force social media companies to reveal the identities of anonymous online trolls. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Sunday that legislation allowing this will be introduced next week.
Major technology companies such as Facebook and Google are considered publishers by law and can be held liable for offensive and defamatory posts on their platforms. According to the head of government, the new rules are among the strictest in the world.
“Social media can often be a palace of cowards, where anonymous people can bully, harass, and spoil lives without consequences,” Morrison said in a statement. The prime minister said it was time for platforms to take responsibility for such content. “This has to stop.”
Anyone who is being defamed or harassed on social media can file a complaint, after which the relevant platform must remove the material. If not, the court could force the social media company to reveal the name of the “troll”, after which it could be held responsible for its “cowardly attacks”.
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