Australia to urge G20 for tougher joint action on social media firms

Sydney, Australia, Oct 28 (EFE).- Australia’s prime minister said Thursday that he will urge world leaders at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend for tougher joint action to hold social media companies to account for content posted on their sites.

“I will continue to press, as Australia always has, and show the leadership on this issue globally that we must hold social media platforms to account,” Scott Morrison said at a press conference in Canberra.

“They’re publishers, not just platforms, and particularly when they allow people to anonymously go on their platforms and publish their vile rubbish, whether that is to bully a young girl or target people online or to push defamatory statements out against people, and to do so anonymously with impunity — that’s not freedom of speech, that’s just cowardice,” he added.

The Australian government is currently working on legislation that would enable the creation of a binding online-privacy code for social media platforms, as well as other companies that manage data, which would require platforms to get parental consent for children, among others.

Morrison said he will present the online privacy draft legislation at the G20, along with other measures implemented in his country such as the creation of the eSafety Commissioner to regulate online activity.

“It’s not just a problem here in Australia, it’s a problem all around the world,” Morrison said.

The leader also recalled the progress made after a declaration, named the Christchurch Call, signed by 10 countries and internet giants in Paris in 2019 to more effectively combat the spread of terrorist content and messages inciting hatred online.

Initiated by Wellington and Paris, it came after the white supremacist attack that year against two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch that killed 51 people.

The attacker livestreamed his assault against worshipers in the mosques and published his white supremacist manifesto on social media.

During his European tour, Morrison will also attend the COP26 climate summit at Glasgow, where he will hold a series of meetings with some leaders of the G20, which includes its partners in the AUKUS defense pact: the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Australian media has ruled out a face-to-face meeting between Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron during the trip, following a diplomatic crisis triggered by the cancellation in September of a contract for the construction of 12 French conventional submarines in favor of the development of nuclear-powered vessels within the framework of the AUKUS agreement. EFE


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