Posted September 03, 2019 07:30:38 The Federal Opposition’s new frontbencher, Adam Bandt, has called for an investigation into illegal content on Facebook, describing it as “the biggest threat to the internet and the democracy we love”.
Facebook says it “takes our users’ safety very seriously”, but it has come under fire for failing to take down content “based on malicious intent”.
Facebook has been criticised for its role in fuelling a wave of illegal content, which has included a string of posts claiming to be from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and a series of hoaxes about US President Donald Trump.
Facebook has since taken down about half of these posts, and the company says it has “reached out to law enforcement agencies to ensure that their investigations are thorough”.
Mr Bandt is calling for the Federal Government to crack down on the sharing of “illegal” content, and he said the Government should be making more “public warnings about the risks of these types of activity”.
He said the Federal Parliament should “take a leadership role in making sure we are not only vigilant against online content that has been used to incite violence and hate, but also protect the freedoms of Australians who want to have their voice heard”.
Mr Brandt said he was concerned about the way Facebook was responding to a series to the Facebook “community guidelines” for “content that promotes violence, harassment, or threats”.
Facebook’s Community Guidelines for “Violent Content” say content should be “freely shared by all users, including those who may not want to see the content”.
“We also ask for users to flag potentially offensive content, including content that glorifies or glorifies violence,” the guidelines state.
Facebook said it was “working with law enforcement and social media companies to identify and remove content that violates our Community Guidelines”.
The company said it “recognises that our community guidelines can be misinterpreted or misused by users who seek to exploit the system to spread misinformation”.
“If we receive credible allegations of content that promotes criminal activity, violence, or other inappropriate content, we will take swift action, including reporting the content to Facebook,” it said.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Labor candidate for Sydney South, Adam Brandt, said the party was “deeply concerned” about the potential rise in online content.
“We have a responsibility to the community to make sure we’re not letting this happen again and I think that’s why we’ve taken the position that we’re going to be calling for an independent investigation into the content,” he said.
Mr Bandfatt has previously called for the Coalition to make changes to its controversial $2 billion deal with Facebook to buy “unrestricted” advertising, and has said he would like to see changes to the Communications Security Bureau (CSB), which is responsible for protecting online content, especially the content of private organisations.
Mr Brandfatt, who is running for the Senate seat of Sydney South in the September 24 election, said he supported Mr Bandwats “action to make the internet a safer place”.
He was critical of Facebook’s efforts to address “the threat of hate speech” on its platform, and criticised the Federal Communications Commission for not taking a “more active role in policing online content”.
The ABC has sought comment from Facebook.
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