Slandered on the Internet – News online

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the government will present a law to the Parliament this week, which will force social networks to reveal the identity of anonymous trolling accounts, and offer a way for those users to sue for defamation.

According to some estimates, this could be one of the strictest laws against trolls in the world, but experts are further of the opinion that its focus on defamation will not help suppress the rate of harassment on the Internet and the spread of cyber hatred.

– The world on the Internet should not be the Wild West where bots, fanatics, trolls and others, anonymously circle around and can harm people, injure them and harass them in any way – said Prime Minister Morrison.

He added that such things cannot happen in the real world, and that is why there is no reason for it to happen in the digital.

According to media reports, the announcement followed a September ruling by the Australian Supreme Court which found that publishers could be held responsible for comments posted by followers on their networks and internet forums.

By law, digital platforms such as Twitter or Facebook will be considered publishers, making them responsible for controlling and releasing defamatory and derogatory material on their platforms.

Morrison said that the companies will also have to remove the “digital shield” that they currently provide to anonymous trolls on the network, as well as to submit their user data to the state authorities.

Namely, according to the new law, social networks would be obliged to collect data from current and future clients, and they would also be obliged to allow courts to access the identity of users in order to initiate defamation cases.

For now, it is unclear what personal data will be collected, but there are indications that this would include a phone number, email address and the name of the account user.

Molrison added that the government will seek trial cases, to strengthen law enforcement, and will support people who have been wronged if they do not have enough funds to sue themselves.

“We will support them in both the courts and parliament, because I want to ensure that our children are safe online,” Morrison said.

In addition, the Prime Minister pointed out that freedom of speech is valued in Australia, but freedom of speech also means taking responsibility for what is said, and many bots and trolls hide behind false profiles.

Morrison said that in order to protect citizens, especially women and children, who are the most frequent victims of online harassment, companies must have processes for quick and efficient removal of defamatory content.

– You should not be able to use the cloak of anonymity on the Internet, in order to spread your vile, slanderous comments – was the comment of the state prosecutor Mikaelija Kesh.

At the same time, the bill will face the decision of the High Court in the case of Firefox Media, which believes that all online sites are responsible for comments made by a third party below their posts on social networks, which are considered offensive or defamatory.
However, Labor leader Anthony Albanese criticized the government’s priorities in combating disinformation on the Internet in the new law and said that “if the prime minister wants to deal with disinformation on social networks, he should start with the people in his government.”

German model

Cyber ​​hatred expert and author of the book “Troll Hunt”, Ginger Gorman, said that the law will not do enough in the fight against the abuse of social networks.
– I think this is too little and too late, because so much real damage has already been done, and this law does not go far enough. The government must legally prescribe the mandatory duty of internet platforms to protect the public on networks. However, social networks constantly publish unheard of content and are not responsible for that at all – Gormen pointed out.
She added the example of Germany, where platforms can be fined up to 50 million euros if they do not delete posts that contain racist, slanderous or other illegal speech within 24 hours. According to her, this shows that governments can take serious measures.

A third of users were abused

A 2018 Amnesty International survey on online abuse showed that 30 percent of respondents experienced online harassment, and almost half of those who answered in the affirmative were between the ages of 18 and 24.
In addition, 37 percent of women who have experienced abuse or harassment on the Internet said that at least once, incidents have led them to fear for their physical safety.

Source: Vesti online by

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