Elon Musk’s Twitter faces a 28-day ultimatum from Australia’s internet safety watchdog to take decisive action against what it considers online abuse and “hate speech,” or face daily fines of $475,000.
France24 reports that Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety commissioner, has issued a stern warning to Twitter in a move to muzzle free speech. Twitter has been given 28 days to prove that it is serious about combating what Australia considers online abuse and “hate speech.” There could be daily fines of $700,000 AUD ($475,000 USD) for noncompliance.
“We need accountability from these platforms and action to protect their users,” Inman Grant said. “And you cannot have accountability without transparency, and that’s what legal notices like this one are designed to achieve.”
The eSafety commissioner emphasized that one in three complaints about online “hate speech” reported in Australia are now related to Twitter. This follows Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter in October 2022, which was allegedly followed by an increase in “toxicity and hate” on the social media platform.
Significant staff cuts made by Musk, including the elimination of content moderators who were in charge of monitoring and removing abusive content, may partly be to blame for the rise in online abuse, according to Inman Grant. Musk also issued a broad amnesty that allowed tens of thousands of accounts that had been previously suspended or banned to re-join the platform.
“Twitter appears to have dropped the ball on tackling hate,” Inman Grant stated. She expressed that the watchdog is “far from being alone in its concern about increasing levels of toxicity and hate on Twitter, particularly targeting marginalized communities.”
“We are also concerned by numerous reports of content remaining widely accessible that is likely in breach of Twitter’s own terms of service,” Inmant Grant said.
The ultimatum demands that Twitter present a series of concrete steps showing “what it is doing to prevent online hate on its platform and enforce its own rules.”
The demand has not yet received a response from Twitter.
Read more at France24 here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan
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