Australia has joined the dogpile against Twitter, wanting to know more about how it plans to control speech. The company is facing scrutiny from Australian authorities over its handling of online “hate speech.” Australia’s pro-censorship eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, who has, in the past, shown a lack of understanding of technology, has issued a formal “please explain” notice to Twitter, demanding information on the steps the platform is taking to address the rise in harmful content.
Inman Grant said that nearly a third of the complaints received by her office regarding online hate involved Twitter content. This, she noted, signifies an alarming surge since Elon Musk purchased the company. The platform has been given 28 days to respond to the notice or risks facing daily fines nearing $700,000 for each day past the deadline.
Supposedly of particular concern for the eSafety Commissioner is what she says is the proliferation of anti-Semitic content, as well as harmful posts aimed at Indigenous Australians and the LGBTIQ+ community. In an attempt to back up her claims, she cited a study by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, that has been alleging an increase in “hate speech” for several months.
Inman Grant expressed her concerns, saying, “Any long-time Twitter user has seen since Elon Musk took over the company in October of last year that their feed looks a lot different, looks a lot more toxic,” ABC Australia reported.
Additionally, she criticized Musk’s decision to reinstate more than 62,000 previously censored or banned accounts. She described the reinstatements as more like “breaking serial offenders out of Twitter jail” in the name of free expression.
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