An Australian political minister (George Christensen) has proposed a new bill to bar foreign social media platforms from censoring lawful political content.
This comes after WeChat banned the Australian Prime Minister’s account and Facebook delisted Trump’s account after the Capitol riots incident. If this bill is passed, it will the body of the Australian communication to levy fines upto $1.1 million on violating social media platforms.
Hardening the Social Media Censorship
Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have grown big enough to let people share sensitive topics, discuss, and even manipulate others’ opinions. As some are taking advantage of this, the platforms have come up with various tools to hide or ban certain infringing content or accounts from public view.
And that triggered furious in some political candidates, who claims that social media platforms are unlawfully taking down political content in most cases. The Australian Liberal-National MP, George Christensen is one such person.
Christensen is a retiring member for Dawson in Queensland and made a proposal for a new law to contain social media platforms in Australia, regarding unlawful censorship. Noting that foreign social media platforms are having significant control over political discussion in Australia, he said;
“These platforms now form the public square, they form the place where ideas are debated, where discussion ensues, we now have big tech companies controlling that space.”
He further spoke about incidents that concerned him to push this new bill. These include Facebook and Twitter banning Donald Trump’s account after the Capital Riots in 2020, and the most recent, WeChat delisting the Australian Prime Minister’s account.
Calling those platforms as “notoriously censorious of political discourse,” Christensen says the new bill will prevent social media giants from censoring lawful content by Members of Parliament, registered political parties, election candidates, journalists, and media organizations in Australia.
And if the bill is legalized, it will give the Australian Communications and Media Authority power to fine social media companies $1.1million for violating it.