News World New Australia law threatens social media firms with fines, jail over violent...

New Australia law threatens social media firms with fines, jail over violent content

Australia will fine social media companies up to 10 percent of their annual global turnover and imprison executives for up to three years if violent content is not removed “expeditiously” under a new law passed by the country’s parliament on Thursday.

The new law is in response to a lone gunman attack on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, killing 50 people as they attended Friday prayers.

The gunman broadcast his attack live on Facebook and it was widely shared for over an hour before being removed, a timeframe Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described as unacceptable.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with one murder following the attack and was remanded without a plea. He is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more charges.

It is now an offence in Australia for companies, such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet’s Google, which owns YouTube, not to remove any videos or photographs that show murder, torture or rape without delay.

Companies must also inform Australian police within a “reasonable” timeframe.

“It is important that we make a very clear statement to social media companies that we expect their behaviour to change,” Mitch Fifield, Australia’s minister for communications and the arts, told reporters in Canberra.

Juries will decide whether companies have complied with the timetable.

“We have zero tolerance for terrorist content on our platforms,” said a spokesperson for Google in an emailed statement.

“We are committed to leading the way in developing new technologies and standards for identifying and removing terrorist content.”

A spokeswoman for Facebook was not immediately able for comment.

Facebook said last week it was exploring restrictions on who can access their live video-streaming service, depending on factors such as previous violations of the site’s community standards.

Australia’s opposition Labour party backed the legislation, but said it will consult with the technology industry over possible amendments if it wins power at an election due in May.

Australia’s parliament will rise until after the election. The newly elected lawmakers will not sit until at least July.

Critics of the legislation said the government moved too quickly, without proper consultation and consideration.

“Laws formulated as a knee-jerk reaction to a tragic event do not necessarily equate to good legislation and can have myriad unintended consequences,” said Arthur Moses, head of the Australian Law Council.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

FM Christodoulides in self-isolation following confirmed case of close associate

  Foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides has become the fourth minister to go into covid self-isolation, following a confirmed case among his close associates. Christodoulides went into...

Concern over rise of covid hospital cases to 38, four critical-new infections over 100

  The Health Ministry today announced 113 new COVID-19 cases, out of 3,112 diagnostic tests, taking confirmed infections to 3,930. The health ministry has expressed concern...

Germany to go into circuit-break lockdown as virus cases surge

  Germany will impose an emergency month-long lockdown that includes the closure of restaurants, gyms and theatres to reverse a spike in coronavirus cases that...

1547-Highest ever number of new covid cases in Greece-deaths on the rise

  Greece recorded one thousand five hundred and forty seven new coronavirus  cases over the past 24 hours, the highest ever number since the start...

Huge 8500 euro fine for unmarked tobacco products

  A twenty nine year old was fined 8 and a half thousand euro for unmarked tobacco products that were discovered by police at his...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...