Business & Economy

Australia gives Twitter 28 days to explain how it’s combating hate speech

Sydney, Australia, June 22 (EFE).- Australia has given Twitter 28 days to explain how it is tackling “toxicity and hatred” on the platform, amid a rise in such messages, especially by neo-Nazis and against the LGBT+ community, and Indigenous people.

In a statement on Thursday, the eSafety Commission said that it had “received more complaints about online hate on Twitter in the past 12 months than any other platform.”

The agency also reported having received an increasing number of reports of serious online abuse since Elon Musk’s takeover of the company in October last year.

“If Twitter fails to respond to the most recent notice within 28 days, the company could face maximum financial penalties of nearly $700,000 a day for continuing breaches,” it added.

“Twitter appears to have dropped the ball on tackling hate. A third of all complaints about online hate reported to us are now happening on Twitter,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.

Since taking over the platform, Musk has fired thousands of employees and granted a “general amnesty” to 62,000 accounts banned or suspended for violating the platform’s policies, leading to a surge in toxic messages.

Among the restored accounts is that of former US President Donald Trump, who had been suspended by the platform after the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 in a bid to prevent him from inciting more violence.

“We are also aware of reports that the reinstatement of some of these previously banned accounts has emboldened extreme polarizers, peddlers of outrage and hate, including neo-Nazis both in Australia and overseas,” Grant said.

According to the Commission, one in five Australians have been the target of online hate speech, an “inexcusably high” level that doubles in case of Indigenous Australians, people with disabilities or members of the LGBT+ community.

“We need accountability from these platforms and action to protect their users and you cannot have accountability without transparency and that’s what legal notices like this one are designed to achieve,” Inman Grant said. EFE


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