Australia To Make Big Tech Share Misinformation Data – I24NEWS

Front pages of Australian newspapers are displayed featuring stories about Facebook in Sydney, Australia, February 19, 2021.

‘Digital platforms must… take action when harmful or misleading content appears’

Australia’s media regulator will be able to force internet companies to share data about how they handle misinformation under new laws to make Big Tech accountable for false narratives, the government announced Monday.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will also be able to enforce an internet industry code on uncooperative platforms, joining an international effort to reduce the spread of harmful fake news.

Such laws – set to take effect by the end of 2022 – came after an ACMA probe which found that 80 percent of Australian adults had experienced misinformation about Covid.

It also found that 76 percent thought online platforms should do more to curb misleading content.

The move aligns with European efforts to cut down damaging content online, although the European Union has indicated it wants even tougher measures against misinformation, especially in light of output from Russian state media during its invasion of Ukraine.

“Digital platforms must take responsibility for what is on their sites and take action when harmful or misleading content appears,” Australia’s Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said.

The ACMA said that Australians were most likely to see misinformation on more popular services, like Facebook and Twitter.

It noted that false narratives typically start with “highly emotive and engaging posts within small online conspiracy groups” and were “amplified by international influencers, local public figures, and by coverage in the media.”

According to the regulator, conspiracy groups often urged people to join smaller platforms with looser moderation policies, such as Telegram.