Rules tighten over online nasties SOCIAL media and big tech will be required to protect online users from cyber-bullies and “digital lynch mobs” or face being named, shamed and fined.
Providers will also be required to take greater steps to prevent children accessing R18+ content, stopping the use of non-consensual intimate images and tackling the issue of unlawful or harmful material on anonymous accounts.
Online services will also be expected to take greater action to deal with the promotion, incitement or instruction in violent conduct while ensuring users have clear ways to make reports or complaints to services.
Social media and big tech companies that fail to meet the new set of online expectations will face hefty fines of up to $555,000 while risking being named and shamed on the eSafety Commission website for failing to comply.
The federal government will on Sunday release a draft set of basic online safety expectations (BOSE) for public consultation, as part of its requirements under the new Online Safety Act.
While core expectations include taking action to deal with longstanding harms such as cyberbullying or kids accessing violent material, “reasonable steps” could include actions against such emerging risks as “volumetric attacks” where “digital lynch mobs” sought to overwhelm a victim with abuse.
The new laws also grant eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant the power to publish whether a provider has either complied with or contravened one or more basic online safety expectations for their service.
Tech companies could be ordered to report on how they were responding to harms.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government believed it was time for big tech to “step up” .
“We will always fight to protect all Australians, but especially children, from online harm and we expect big tech to step up and deliver on these expectations,” Mr Fletcher said.
Passed in June 2021, the Online Safety Act 2021 builds on the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 by including the list of expectations along with tougher compliance requirements.
Under the Act, the commission may issue removal notices to online services to take down contravening material.
The laws follow ongoing cases of online bullying, trolling, hate speech and racial abuse across online platforms.
They specifically impact big tech such as Google, Safari and Internet Explorer along with social media services such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
The laws also capture entities which allow end users to communicate with one another, such as chat services.
This article by LINDA SILMALIS is from the August 8, 2021 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition. To subscribe, visit https://www.heraldsun.com.au/.