Global tech firms in Australia recently launched a new practice code, aimed at fighting back against disinformation on the internet following pressure from the country’s government. The group behind this code, DIGI, represents big names like Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.
The group agreed to the code, which will cover a range of actions on their platforms like marking and demoting false content, prioritizing credible sources, as well as suspending or outright banning of an offending and fake account, like bots that spread information automatically.
Notably, the measures largely codify existing practices and are also expected to apply to paid and political ads as well as misinformation.
The code was developed following inquiries by the Australian government about the role that online platforms play in spreading misinformation, which was highlighted during the 2019 bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic’s earlier days. For both incidents, social media platforms became a haven for false information.
The AU government’s Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) will oversee the code in order to ensure everything goes well. They issued a statement on the matter, saying that data shows that at least two-thirds of Aussies have expressed their concerns regarding the extent of online misinformation.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin welcomed the code, calling it a flexible and proportionate approach to deal with misinformation, which can be problematic.
The signatories have agreed to report to the Australian government regarding initial compliance with the code by June 2021, then annual reports following that.
The government’s been working on putting more regulation for big tech companies, which have been watched by online companies and figures like king kong sabri suby, due to the effects it has on the country’s online market.