Sun. May 26th, 2024

‘Not above the law’: Peter Dutton joins bipartisan push for social media crackdown

Alex Thompson By Alex Thompson May19,2024
Key Points
  • False theories and graphic content were posted on social platforms following the Bondi Junction attack and the stabbing at a Sydney church.
  • The government’s misinformation laws had been delayed due to freedom of speech concerns.
  • Under the laws, tougher penalties would apply for social media companies who fail to remove misleading content from their platforms.
Tougher penalties forcing social media companies to remove misinformation from their platforms need to be rolled out to set a benchmark for the rest of the world, the opposition leader says.
Peter Dutton has backed efforts calling for harsher sanctions to combat misinformation online, after false theories and graphic content were posted to platforms following a and the Bondi Junction attack.

The incidents have sparked a renewed push for the government’s misinformation laws, which were delayed due to freedom of speech concerns.

Dutton said the coalition was willing to work with the government surrounding the proposal.
“What (social media companies) are worried about is the flow-on to other markets if Australia’s laws are upheld, and that’s all the more reasons, I think, for us to take a stance,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

“We know that the companies … see themselves (as) above the law and the Australian law should apply equally in the real world as it does online.”

Tougher stance needed

Under the laws, tougher penalties would apply for social media companies that fail to remove misleading content from their platforms.
While the coalition expressed concern with the government’s original plan for the misinformation bill, due to fears it would stifle political debate or dissent for ideas, Dutton said a tougher stance on social media platforms was needed.

“We are (prepared to back the laws) and happy to look at anything the government puts forward.”

An unshaven middle-aged man

Calls are growing for harsher sanctions for social media platforms in the wake of the 13 April shopping centre massacre at Bondi after distressing footage of the attack was uploaded online and misinformation spread. Source: Getty / NurPhoto

It comes as .

“While X respects the right of a country to enforce its laws within its jurisdiction, the eSafety Commissioner does not have the authority to dictate what content X’s users can see globally,” the platform’s global government affairs account posted on Saturday.
“We will robustly challenge this unlawful and dangerous approach in court.”

The requests for the takedowns have also been criticised by X’s owner Elon Musk.

‘Narcissistic billionaires’

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said he was hopeful the outcry over social media failing to remove content following the stabbing incidents would lead to changes to misinformation laws.
“I certainly hope that the events of the last week, including the proliferation of misinformation on social media, has given everyone thought about why we do need stronger laws,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
“The technology we are dealing with is rapidly changing, and it shows why the laws we have in place need to rapidly change as well.”
Watt said the billionaire had demonstrated contempt for Australians for the refusal to take down the violent content.
“The public’s had a gutful of these narcissistic billionaires, who think they are above the law,” he said.

Opposition foreign spokesman Simon Birmingham said support for the misinformation laws would depend on the bill’s contents but supported stronger action on social media companies.

Alex Thompson

By Alex Thompson

Alex is an award-winning journalist with a passion for investigative reporting. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Alex has covered a wide range of topics from politics to entertainment. Known for in-depth research and compelling storytelling, Alex's work has been featured in major news outlets around the world.

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2 thoughts on “‘Not above the law’: Peter Dutton joins bipartisan push for social media crackdown”
  1. As an advocate for digital safety, I believe it is crucial to hold social media companies accountable for the misinformation spread on their platforms. Peter Dutton’s support for harsher sanctions is a step in the right direction to ensure these companies are not above the law.

  2. Peter Dutton’s strong stand on the issue is commendable. It’s crucial that social media companies understand they are not above the law and must adhere to regulations. Harsher sanctions are necessary to combat misinformation online effectively.

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