Australia to test social media content takedowns

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Australia to test social media content takedowns

Australia has secured a non-binding international agreement to force social networks to quickly take down abhorrent material.

The deal was brokered by prime minister Scott Morrison, who secured international agreement on measures to ensure social networks act more quickly to detect and take down terror and criminal material at the G20 leaders meeting in Japan. The leaders’ statement (PDF) on “Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism (VECT)” was non-binding, but did see all 20 leaders agree to explore altering their own laws.

Morrison’s statement on the G20 document said it means “Social media companies are on notice. If they don’t deliver on their commitments, we will move to legislate and do so quickly. “

That statement also noted that “The commitments from the Australian Taskforce to Combat Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material Online the Government set up following the Christchurch terrorist attacks will see tighter monitoring and controls on live streaming and a simulation exercise to further test social media companies’ capabilities. “

The simulation, also described as “testing event”, will run “in 2019-20 managed by the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee that simulates a scenario to gauge the capability of the industry and government.”

While the PM promoted the social media statement, the summit's Leader's Declaration (PDF) will probably prove more significant as it includes a full section on using digital technology to promote global economic growth, in part by ensuring privacy and security of cross-border data flows.

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