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Australia warns of potential fines for Musk's Twitter amidst growing Hate speech

Twitter faces criticism from the eSafety Commissioner for its inadequate handling of hate speech, as one-third of reported online hate complaints are now attributed to the platform. Reinstating banned accounts has allegedly empowered extremist groups.

Edited By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Published on: June 22, 2023 14:55 IST
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Image Source : FILE Australia warns of potential fines for Musk's Twitter amidst growing Hate speech

Australia's cyber regulator has issued a legal notice to Twitter, led by Elon Musk, demanding information on the platform's efforts to address online hate. Failure to respond within 28 days could result in fines of up to nearly $700,000 per day for ongoing violations. The Australian eSafety Commissioner expressed concern over the rise in complaints and the persistence of hate content on Twitter despite the platform's existing policies against such conduct.

Julie Inman Grant, the eSafety Commissioner, stated that online hate has reached alarming levels, with almost one in five Australians experiencing some form of it. She further highlighted that individuals from marginalized groups, including First Nations Australians, disabled individuals, and the LGBTIQ+ community, face online hate at twice the rate of the general population.

Twitter has received more complaints about online hate over the past year than any other platform, and the number of reports of serious abuse has increased since Musk's takeover in October 2022. These complaints coincide with Twitter's reduction of its global workforce, including its trust and safety teams, as well as the cessation of its public policy presence in Australia.

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Image Source : FILEAustralia warns for fines to Musk's Twitter amidst growing Hate speech

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The eSafety Commissioner criticized Twitter for what appears to be a failure to effectively address hate speech. One-third of all reported online hate complaints are now associated with Twitter. There are also reports that the reinstatement of previously banned accounts has emboldened extremists, including neo-Nazis, both in Australia and internationally.

Twitter has faced criticism from advocacy groups, including GLAAD, which labelled it as the most hateful platform towards the LGBTQ+ community. The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that slurs against African Americans on Twitter doubled to an average of 3,876 times per day after Musk took over, compared to 1,282 times per day previously. The CCDH also revealed that verified accounts, denoted by the Twitter Blue Check, seemed to receive preferential treatment in terms of enforcement against online hate.

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The eSafety Commissioner emphasized the need for accountability and user protection on social media platforms. Legal notices like the one issued to Twitter are intended to promote transparency and accountability. Grant called for action to protect users and address online hate, stressing that accountability cannot be achieved without transparency from the platforms.

Inputs from IANS




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