Facebook: Pledge to hold social media companies accountable for phishing

Australia’s communications minister has become the latest politician to call for greater accountability of social media giant Facebook over phishing.

The Federal Communications Secretary said the social media giants have been getting away with “taking no responsibility” for the content posted on their sites “for too long,” and will seek greater accountability.

Paul Fletcher, who appeared on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, against the backdrop of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s call for a social media campaign, said Facebook should be held accountable more.

When asked if he agreed with the prime minister that Facebook should be treated as a “publisher”, meaning they are treated like a newspaper or a TV station and take responsibility for what is shared on their website, Mr. Ummed-and-aahed Mr Fletcher before finally agreed. .

Mr Fletcher said: “This is one option under consideration, among others it could be – ‘What is their responsibility to support a private litigant who is bringing the lawsuit?'” “.

“In a whole host of ways, we are cracking down on this notion that what is posted online can be published with impunity.

“We need to take a stronger position on the platforms. For a long time, they have been getting away with not taking any responsibility for the content posted on their sites.”

Renewed talk about online trolls and the role of websites returned to the spotlight this week after Mr Joyce’s daughter was trolled, with “completely and utterly bogus rumors” she had an affair with former New South Wales Deputy Prime Minister John Barillaro appeared.

Mr. Joyce said the allegations were “complete and utter nonsense” and were what sparked his call for the ability to fine social media companies.

“You can’t say ‘my platform is a vessel for freedom of expression,’ and then the people who are speaking on that ship don’t give their names, they don’t identify themselves, and thus allow people to stand on that platform and throw bricks at the motorists,” Mr. Joyce told Radio National.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed Mr Joyce, saying social media had become a “cowardly palace”.

“People can go in there, not say who they are, destroy people’s lives, tell people the most terrible and insulting things, and do it with impunity,” he said.

“Now this is not a free country where that happens. It’s not true. They have to identify themselves, and … companies, if they don’t tell who they are, well, they are no longer a platform, they are publishers.”

Mr Fletcher said Facebook’s existence “certainly raises issues of concern to all governments”.

It comes as the Supreme Court ruled in September that media outlets can be sued over defamatory comments made by Facebook users on articles shared on the outlet’s page.

In the US, a congressional investigation is underway that heard from a Facebook whistleblower.

Frances Hogan, a former data scientist, said at the hearing that the company was being dishonest about efforts to counter disinformation.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg denied the claim.

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