Australians will receive greater protection from online bullying and internet troll attacks under a proposed federal government law.
The proposed bill, released on Wednesday, is the world’s first legislation addressing the cyber abuse of adults, the government said in a statement (doc).
The new legislation will give several powers to Australia’s eSafety commissioner, including the ability to order the takedown of cyber abusive content.
Online service providers such as Facebook and Twitter must now respond within 24 hours, down from the current 48 hours.
If a platform ignores take down notices for extremely harmful content, the eSafety commissioner can block access to the website or app. Civil penalties apply to services who do not comply.
During an online crisis, they will also have the power to block websites hosting violent or terrorist material.
Fletcher said the proposed laws would only apply to seriously harmful content and it would appropriately balance the importance of freedom of speech.
Concerns around free speech prevented the government from legislating earlier, eSafety Commisioner Julie Inman Grant told the ABC.
Children will also be protected, with the bill enabling the removal of material from not only social media platforms but also from games and other websites young people frequent.