Online trolling could soon carry severe consequences in Australia. As reported by Reuters, Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed today that the government will be introducing legislation that would force social media platforms to give up the identities of users who post inflammatory comments or engage in other sorts of trolling behavior. Users who believe they are being targeted by trolls will be able to get even via a complaints mechanism.
The new legislation will introduce a complaints mechanism, so that if somebody thinks they are being defamed, bullied or attacked on social media, they will be able to require the platform to take the material down.
If the content is not withdrawn, a court process could force a social media platform to provide details of the commenter.
“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others are anonymously going around and can harm people,” Morrison said during a press briefing. “That is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no case for it to be able to be happening in the digital world.”
“Digital platforms – these online companies – must have proper processes to enable the takedown of this content,” he added. “They have created the space and they need to make it safe, and if they won’t, we will make them (through) laws such as this.”
The legislation follows a recent ruling from the country’s highest court that determined publishers can be held liable for public comments on online forums. CNN chose to ban Australians from accessing its Facebook pages in September due to this.