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Tech firms face fines, jail over violent content under new Australian law

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:46s - Published < > Embed
Tech firms face fines, jail over violent content under new Australian law

Tech firms face fines, jail over violent content under new Australian law

Australia will fine social media and web hosting 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.

Michelle Hennessy reports.

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Tech firms face fines, jail over violent content under new Australian law

Australia passed a tough new law on Thursday (April 4), that threatens social media giants with fines and jail time for violent posts.

The bill was passed in response to the massacre in New Zealand that was broadcast live on Facebook by the gunman.

It was widely shared for over an hour before being removed.

It's now an offense for companies like Facebook and Alphabet's Google, which owns YouTube, to delay removing uploads that show a violent crime.

Fines could total up to 10 percent of their global annual turnover, while company execs could face up to three years in prison.

Australia's communications minister said that rules that apply in the real world, should also apply online.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIA MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, MITCH FIFIELD, SAYING: "It's important that we make a very clear statement to these social media organizations, that we expect their behavior to change." Companies must now also inform police within a reasonable timeframe.

Juries will get the ultimate say on whether they've complied.

Google responded by saying it's committed to new technologies and standards for identifying and removing, quote, terrorist content.

Facebook wasn't immediately available for comment, but said last week that it was exploring restrictions on who can use their video-streaming service.

Australia's opposition party backed the legislation, though the new law has run in to critics.

With some arguing the government has moved too quickly, without proper consultation.

Australian Brenton Tarrant was arrested following the Christchurch attack, he faces a total of 50 murder charges, and is due in court on Friday (April 5).




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