Meta and big tech firms must be held accountable for content they profit from: David Coleman

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Legal notices have been issued to global tech giants, including Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta.
Legal notices have been issued to global tech giants, including Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta. Credit: The Nightly/The Nightly

The global tech giants, including Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, must be held accountable for the content they are profiting from, Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman has warned as he argues self-regulation clearly hasn’t worked.

He made the comments after eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant issued separate legal notices to Google, WhatsApp, Telegram, Reddit, X and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram to reveal what they’re doing to protect Australians from terrorist and violent extremism.

Mr Coleman said extremist and terrorist material was “completely abhorrent” and said big tech companies had failed to self regulate.

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“The big digital platforms must absolutely be held accountable for the content they publish and profit from,” he said.

“Self-regulation clearly hasn’t worked which is why we established the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to do exactly this kind of job.

“The online giants must do more to prevent this evil material from seeing the light of day.”

The notices come after Seven West Media’s national news masthead, The Nightly, revealed big tech companies “aren’t doing enough” to tackle the unprecedented explosion in online child sexual exploitation, with 32 million reports last year alone about the horrific criminal content on major platforms each year representing “just the tip of a very large iceberg”.

Meta made up the bulk of the reports, with more than 21 million related to Facebook, followed by more than 5 million reports about Instagram.

The Albanese government is reviewing online safety laws, with public consultation due to take place in the next few months.

The six companies will have 49 days to provide responses to the online safety watchdog.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said there was no place for terrorist or violent material online, which she said was illegal and seriously harmful.

“There is no place for this material on social media or any online platform,” she said.

“eSafety’s powers are driving transparency so the regulator and Government can better understand what these platforms are doing, or more importantly, what they are not doing to prevent the spread of this material.”

Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, June 1, 2023. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland. Credit: Mick Tsikas/AAPImage

The eSafety commissioner has previously issued X, formerly known as Twitter, an infringement notice of $610,500, which the social media giant has refused to pay.

The online safety regulator has filed civil proceedings against X Corp in the Federal Court of Australia and could be hit with a $782,000 penalty for each day they are deemed to be non-compliant.

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