Australia passes law to penalise violent content on social media

Australia has passed a new law that obliges social media platforms to take down violent videos and making them liable for punishment if they fail to do so.

The new legislation was brought in the context of Christchurch terrorist attack in neighbouring New Zealand, which the perpetrator had live-streamed on social media.

The law covers videos depicting terrorist acts, murders, attempted murders, torture, rape or kidnap.

Under the law, an eSafety Commissioner would notify social media companies that they are deemed to be aware of the presence of such content on their platform and they would have an obligation to take them down.

The digital industry representatives vehemently opposed the bill, saying that it would threaten the employees of social media companies with jail and fine.

While corporate penalties range up to $10.5m or 10% of annual turnover, individuals who “provide a hosting service” and fail to remove material can be punished with three years imprisonment or a $2.1m fine.

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