On Thursday, 4th of April, law makers demanded the accountability of the leading social media platforms for the content they publish on their respective websites.
To those who are wondering why lawmakers in Australia are furious against social media platforms, here is the background of the story:
On Friday 15 March 2019, two mosques were attacked in Christchurch New Zealand resulting in the death of more than 50 people and numerous injuries. The deadly terrorist attack was being planned by white nationalist from quite a long time. What’s highly disturbing about this terrorist attack is that the mastermind behind this crime live-shared the whole attack on various social media platforms.
This unusual and disturbing incident has stirred lawmakers to take a serious call against social media involved in sharing and publication of these graphics.
Australia’s House of Representatives Has Passed The Law Against Facebook, Google and More!
Social media websites and platforms have immense power in our lives. There’s not even one percent denial in the fact that people these days follow social media platforms religiously. We can’t spend an hour of our lives without being connected to these superpowers. This superpower has eventually grabbed the handles on our lives, senses and even the capability to function.
This sensitive situation has been triggering thinkers for a long time now. Especially to those who find social media platforms activities and content suspicious and worth denouncing.
Some of these individuals were present at Australia’s House of Representatives determined to pass the law against the excessive activities of social media platforms. The required mighty social platforms to “expeditiously” remove the objectionable content from their sites.
In this law, objectionable content involved content that shows kidnapping, murders, rape, terrorist attacks, and other similar activities.
“Internet platforms must take the spread of abhorrent violent material online seriously.”
Being an active social media user myself, there have been numerous times when disturbing content surfaced on my newsfeed. I have often found myself questioning how this content should not cross the newsfeed of people under 18. Or how this particular content can put soft-hearted people in serious condition.
Similar questions arose when I witnessed the live broadcasting of the terrorist attack at Christ Church, filmed and published by the terrorist himself.
The mass shooting was not only condemned in the entire world but was also taken under serious consideration. Researchers, PhDs, and lecturers have been conducted on how social media platforms and social media activities are becoming a reason for this dangerous nationalism among young people.
Christian Porter, Australia’s attorney general, was quoted saying in a New York Times report that “These platforms should not be weaponized for these purposes.” He further added, “Internet platforms must take the spread of abhorrent violent material online seriously.”
What will Happen if the Social Media Platforms Failed to Get Rid of Objectionable Content?
The lawmakers were certain on the point that the content shared by social media platforms are guilty enough to be charged for promoting and giving space to extremist views. They were certainly on making sure that the accused social platforms are made responsible to remove the abhorrent violent content from hero sites, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
However, they further stated that if any of the social platforms failed to get rid of the accused content, the company’s employee could face prison. While the company itself will be charged for a fine up to 10% of their annual profit.
What Do The Social Media Companies Have To Say Regarding Law Passed in Australia?
The accused parties in this law, i.e Google, Facebook, and other big social media names, have started objecting against the regulations in Australia.
The Digital Industry Group that represents the social media platforms has been pretty vocal about the alleged law.
Sunita Bose, the managing director of the Digital Industry Group says that “This law, which was conceived and passed in five days without any meaningful consultation, does nothing to address hate speech, which was the fundamental motivation for the tragic Christchurch terrorist attacks.”