Australia pledged on Saturday to introduce new laws that could see social media executives jailed and tech giants fined billions for failing to remove extremist material from their platforms.
The tough new legislation will be brought to parliament next week as Canberra pushes for social media companies to prevent their platforms from being “weaponised” by terrorists in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
Facebook said it “quickly” removed a staggering 1.5 million videos of the white supremacist massacre livestreamed on the social media platform.
“Big social media companies have a responsibility to take every possible action to ensure their technology products are not exploited by murderous terrorists,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
Morrison, who met with a number of tech firms Tuesday – including Facebook, Twitter and Google – said Australia would encourage other G20 nations to hold social media firms to account.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said the new laws would make it a criminal offence for platforms not to “expeditiously” take down “abhorrent violent material” like terror attacks, murder or rape.
Executives could face up to three years in prison for failing to do so, he added, while social media platforms – whose annual revenues can stretch into the tens of billions – would face fines of up to ten percent of their annual turnover.