Sydney, Australia, March 21 (EFE).- Australia said Monday it would present a bill this year to force large technology companies such as Meta (Facebook) and Google to take measures against the spread of disinformation on their digital platforms.

“Digital platforms have a responsibility for what appears on their sites and for taking action when false or malicious content appears on their sites,” Australian Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement.

The bill contemplates giving new powers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority so it can legally ask digital platforms for information and data on the measures taken against disinformation or the handling of complaints.

The authority will be able to monitor compliance with the codes of practice or the regulations of the sector, according to the legislative proposal that also seeks to create a group made up of members of the public and private sectors to fight disinformation.

The bill, which addresses the spread of false news or harmful misinformation across platforms, social media, spam and bots, comes after a report the authority published Monday revealing that four in five Australians were exposed to misinformation during Covid-19.

The government, reeling in the polls ahead of May’s general elections, also includes the report that reveals 76 percent of Australians want more measures taken to reduce the amount of false or malicious news on the internet.

The bill also follows the introduction last year by the DIGI group – made up of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, among others – of a voluntary code to reduce the impact of disinformation and false news on users, prepared at the government’s request.

However, the government continues to notice the spread of false news and disinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic and recently about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Fletcher said.

Like Australia, the European Commission is working – as announced in early March by the European Union Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell – on new proposals to sanction “actors of malign disinformation.” It said the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is an “integral part” of its aggression against Ukraine. EFE

© 2022 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.


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