In what can only be described as a landmark move, the Australian Government is all set to introduce an "anti-troll" legislation to crack down on bullying and abuse on social media. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday (November 28), said that his Government would introduce a law in Parliament this week that would make social media companies reveal the identities of anonymous trolling accounts and offer a pathway to sue those people for defamation.
Under the proposed legislation, social media companies would be required to collect personal details of current and new users, and allow courts to access the identity of users to launch defamation cases.
'Online World Shouldn't Be A Wild West'
"The rules that exist in the real world must exist in the digital and online world," Morrison said. "The online world shouldn't be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others can just anonymously go around and harm people and hurt people, harass them and bully them and sledge them," he added.
While it is not clear what personal details would be collected, there are indications it would include a phone number, email address and user's contact name, reported The Guardian.
Provision For Complaints Mechanism
The proposed law also has a provision for a complaints mechanism, so that if somebody thinks they are being defamed, bullied or attacked on social media, they will be able to require the platform to take the material down. If the content is not taken down, a court process could force a social media platform to provide details of the commenter.
A study by the Australia Institute in 2019 found that one in three Australians experience online harassment, which includes abusive behaviour, unwanted sexual messages and intimidation. Trolling, which is a form of bullying, can have a devastating impact on victims and can excebrate depression and anxiety.