New powers for Australia’s media regulator

Government says Acma will be able to impose a compulsory code of conduct against disinformation on digital platforms
19 January 2023
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be given new information-gathering powers to assess how platforms, including social media companies, respond to misinformation and disinformation.

Communications minister Michelle Rowland said the ACMA would be able to enact an enforceable industry code against online misinformation if industry self-regulation measures prove insufficient. 

The code and standard-making powers will not apply to professional news and authorised electoral content.

In a statement, Rowland said: “Misinformation and disinformation pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of Australians, as well as to our democracy, society and economy.”

“A new and graduated set of powers will enable the ACMA to monitor efforts and compel digital platforms to do more, placing Australia at the forefront in tackling harmful online misinformation and disinformation.

In January, ACMA told Guardian Australia it would continue to push for powers to compel tech companies to hand over information about how they are combatting misinformation. ACMA also warned that the updated industry code still fails to tackle large-scale group messaging.

ACMA wants a “more robust reporting framework and the expansion of the code to cover the propagation of mis- and disinformation on messaging services that facilitate large-scale group messaging”, it said.

- CyberBeat


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