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Australia issues Elon Musk's Twitter with a 'please explain' notice


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Australia issues Elon Musk's Twitter with a 'please explain' notice over surge in online hate

Elon Musk's social media platform Twitter has been issued with a demand from Australian authorities for information on what it is doing to tackle online hate.

Key points:
Twitter will face fines of almost $700,000 every day that it does not comply with the demand for information on how it is tackling online hate
Australia's eSafety Comissioner says there's been more complaints about online hate on Twitter than on any other platform in the past year
Julie Inman Grant argues the mass lay-offs at Twitter have contributed to a deterioration of standards
Australia's eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said about one-third of the complaints her agency received about online hate involved content on Twitter, noting a surge in harmful posts since the Tesla chief bought the platform last year.

Twitter has 28 days to comply with the "please explain" notice, or face fines of almost $700,000 for every day it misses the deadline.

Ms Inman Grant revealed she was particularly concerned about anti-Semitic content, and harmful posts directed at Indigenous Australians and members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

She cited research by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate suggesting Twitter was repeatedly failing to act on harmful content posted by Twitter Blue accounts, the platform's subscription service.

"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," she said.

"There have been a range of changes that have caused us great concerns about the current state of the platform.

"But the most important piece of evidence we have is that we have received more complaints about online hate on Twitter in the past 12 months than on any other platform, and we want to know how they're enforcing their own terms of service on the issue."


With the current lawsuit over advertiser's leaving in droves, this seems to be just what he doesn't need. Oh well. 

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Australia fined X $610,500. But will Elon Musk’s company pay up?

"Australia’s e-safety commissioner is the last thing on [Elon Musk’s] mind,” says Dr Belinda Barnet, a senior lecturer in media at Swinburne University.

X, the platform owned by Musk, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday became the first online platform to be fined under Australia’s Online Safety Act, receiving a $610,500 penalty after failing to answer questions about how it was tackling child sexual abuse material.

But experts say the fine is unlikely to force X to improve its procedures, indicating better legislation is needed to elicit change.

X fined $610,500 in Australia first for failing to crack down on child sexual abuse material
The infringement notice was issued after a marathon seven-month back-and-forth between X and the e-safety commissioner’s office, after which X failed to respond to some questions, such as the headcount of its safety team among other issues.

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