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Australian anti-troll laws will unmask anonymous users online

The new law in Australia will make social media companies legally liable for what gets posted online

November 29, 2021 / 12:27 PM IST
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said,

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, "The rules that exist in the real world must exist in the digital and online world."


Trolls will soon miss the advantage of virtual anonymity, if the Australian government has its way in a crackdown on inflammatory comments on social media.


A troll is a person who takes the advantage of online anonymity while making comments with the intent of provoking others. Such examples are rampant in this age of social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, where some threads often devolve into madness set off by a single message.


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has proposed a new legislation that will legally bind social media platforms to disclose the identity of the individual who posts these messages.


Also Read: Indias internet law adds to fears over online speech, privacy


It would also make social media companies legally liable for what gets posted on social media platforms. Under the new law, social media services will have to create a new complaint system and defamatory posts will need to be taken down.

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Alternatively, if the person refuses to remove the post or the victim decides to pursue legal action, then the companies must oblige and hand over the user’s contact information.


If the person cannot be identified or if the contact information is unavailable, then the social media platform will bear the cost of whatever action the victim decides to take. The law is specific to Australia for now.


Also Read: New IT rules: MeitY releases FAQs section on new guidelines


“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. 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,” Premier Morrison told a press conference, reported on by ABC News Australia (via The Verge).

He also said that social media discourses need to be governed by real world laws. He emphasised that the “rules that exist in the real world” must also govern online conversations.

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