The Morrison Government will announce a new charter designed to stop cyberbullies and keep children safe online.
Squarely aimed at Facebook, the charter includes demands to remove harmful and illegal content and meet high standards of safety.
PM’s $17m plan to clean up internet
SOCIAL media giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have been put on notice by the federal government to remove harmful content which appears online.
The Morrison Government will outline its expectations for social media companies in a new charter in an effort to stop cyberbullies and keep children safe online.
The new guidelines won’t be legally binding but will demand tech companies remove harmful and illegal content.
They will also include accountability measures, with an explicit focus on keeping children safe.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said businesses that interacted with children in the real world had to meet high standards of safety and “digital businesses should be treated no differently”.
The government will consult the tech companies and parents over the coming months to develop the online safety charter, which will be unveiled before the next election.
The crackdown comes after a 2018 Senate inquiry into cyberbullying laws recommended the government “maintain regulatory pressure” on social media companies and set up duty-of-care laws targeting Facebook and Instagram.
Such laws would mean social media companies could be liable if users were bullied or harmed.
The inquiry heard that Kids Helpline received 3000 calls about cyber safety in 2017 and that there was a 133 per cent spike in cyber bullying reports in the first two weeks of February, when children returned to school.
Mother of three Olivia Metcalf, who is a university researcher in the excessive use of technology, welcomed the government’s stronger stance.
Dr Metcalf said she was worried her three boys would be exposed to violent or sexual content available online.
“Online safety is a really big concern. When I talk to parents, we are all really worried about it,” she told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“Anything we can do to protect children from growing up too fast is important.”
The Morrison Government’s tougher stance is part of a $17 million package to be revealed in tomorrow’s Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook aimed at keeping children safe online.
More than $3 million will be spent over the next four years researching the effects of cyber bullying on vulnerable internet users, including indigenous communities. The package will also benefit preschool-aged children, with new resources that parents can use to teach their children how to stay safe online.
Source: PM’s $17m plan to clean up internet from the December 16, 2018 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition.