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Australia to introduce “anti-trolling” bill 

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This weekend Australia’s consumer and internet watch dog are looking to streamline the ways in which digital platforms are regulated, with legislative reforms to be implemented this weekend. The changes are being introduces by the federal government in an attempt to crack down on internet bullies and trolls, while making big tech companies more accountable.

The Digital Platform Regulators Forum has been formed to scrutinise internet search engines, social media services, private messaging services, electronic marketplaces, and other places. The forum will comprise the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Communications and Media Authority and the offices of the Australian Information Commissioner and the eSafety Commissioner.

The proposed “anti-trolling” bill would look to overhaul defamation law regarding online comments and is the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. The legislation demands social media giants collect the personal details of Australian-based users to make it easier to identify them.

The bill would also grant victims of defamatory comments the power to ask for the identity of anonymous posters or use a new court order to unmask them.

A statement from the Digital Platform Regulator Forum stated that – “Regulators … face many of the same challenges – addressing emerging consumer harms, encouraging innovation while balancing protections, and countering the market power of these large, complex, and diverse multinational entities. A critical and overarching focus is considering how competition, consumer protection, privacy, online safety, and data intersect in issues that the various regulators consider.”

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