SYDNEY, October 11 (Reuters) – A tech startup backed by Facebook, Google and Twitter divisions in Australia said on Monday, a day after the government threatened tougher laws on falsehood and libel, to settle complaints about misinformation. He said he set up a committee. online publications.
The issue of damaging social media posts has emerged as a second battleground between Big Tech and Australia, which passed a law last year. make platforms pay license fees For content, it led to a temporary Facebook outage in February.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison tagged social media last week “a coward’s palace”, the government said on Sunday it is looking at measures to make social media companies more responsible. forcing legal responsibility onto platforms for content posted on them.
Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI), which represents the Australian divisions of Facebook Inc. (FB.O), the alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google and Twitter Inc. (TWTR.N)He said the new misinformation oversight subcommittee has shown the industry’s willingness to self-regulate against damaging posts.
The tech giants had already agreed on a code of conduct against misinformation, and “we wanted to further strengthen this with independent oversight of experts and public accountability,” DIGI Managing Director Sunita Bose said in a statement.
DIGI said a three-person “independent complaints subcommittee” will try to resolve complaints about possible violations of the code of conduct through a public website, but will not receive complaints about individual submissions.
The industry’s code of conduct includes such items as guarding against misinformation affecting public health, which will include the novel coronavirus.
DIGI, which also counts Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and TikTok said that as a signatory, it can issue a public statement if a company is found to be violating its code of conduct or revoking its signing status with the group.
Australian communications minister Paul Fletcher, who is among the senior lawmakers who promised to take tougher measures against platforms containing misleading and defamatory content, welcomed the measure, while consumer groups argued that it had not gone far enough.
“I am pleased that DIGI has announced an important development that will strengthen the way the law protects Australians from misinformation and disinformation,” Fletcher said in a statement. Said.
But Reset Australia, an advocacy group focused on technology’s impact on democracy, said the oversight panel was “ridiculous” because it included no penalties and the code of conduct was optional.
“DIGI’s code is little more than a PR stunt given the negative PR that has surrounded Facebook in recent weeks,” said Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran, Reset Australia’s Director of Technology Policy, calling for regulation for the industry.
Andrew Williams, CEO of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, said the move was “a step in the right direction” but very limited as only people with a Google account can file a complaint on the new website.
“It is important that any information consumers need to know about the DIGI Complaints Portal is easy to find and accessible to everyone,” he said.
Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Richard Pullin
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