Online Trolls & Cyber Bullies Will Now Be Unmasked Down Under
Have you been bullying somebody online and figured that you were protected? Well in Australia thats no longer the case as you will be found and unveiled. Here is the story on how Australia Plans To Crack Down On Online Trolls.
The internet has made information readily available at the click of a button for millions of people around the world. It has also made it easier, faster, and convenient to interact with friends and strangers alike. In short, the internet has radically transformed human activities such as shopping, communication, and work. However, there is the other side of the internet coin that is not so palatable, and that is the proliferation of internet trolls. Trolls are online characters who deliberately try to bully, offend, or attack other people by posting derogatory comments on social media platforms and forums.
Australia’s Anti-troll Legislation
It’s this behavior that the Australian government is trying to bring down through legislation. In the proposed legislation, Australia plans to ensure social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook uncover the identities of people who post insulting and hateful comments on these platforms. The need for new legislation has gained impetus after Australia’s highest court ruled that publishers of defamatory material could be held liable for comments made by their followers on online forums. In the landmark ruling, the High Court dismissed arguments put forward by Australia’s largest media companies that for people to be publishers, they need to be aware of the offending content and intend to convey it. In a 5-2 majority decision, the court ruled that by communicating defamatory comments by their users, media companies facilitate and encourage trolling behavior. The court ruling forced media giants such as CNN and the Guardian to restrict access to their Facebook pages to avoid liability for trolls’ activities on their sites.
A Coward’s Palace
Supporting the proposed legislation against trolls, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a press briefing stated that the online world should not be allowed to degenerate into a lawless jungle of anonymous trolls and bots roaming around and harming people. Describing social media platforms as a coward’s palace, Morrison decried the ease with which people can use social media to destroy other people’s lives by posting foul comments and highly offensive content with impunity. In the same way, trolling behavior is reprehensible and punishable in the real world, so should it be in the digital space. Morrison added that social media platforms have a responsibility to make the digital spaces safe by, among other things, being able to withdraw offensive content brought to their attention by their users.
Early Details of the Proposed Anti-Troll Legislation
The anti-trolling legislation plans to introduce a mechanism for filing complaints from anyone who thinks has been a victim of online defamation, bullying, or any form of an attack on social media. After filing the complaint, it would require the respective social media platform to pull down the offending material. If they do not withdraw the content on the platform, the court could intervene and force the social media platform to provide details of the troll. The law also proposes to introduce an end-user information disclosure order, which would grant tech companies to reveal the identity of a user without their permission. If the social media companies cannot identify the troll behind the offensive comments, it would force the company to pay the victim for the troll’s defamatory posts. More details of the suggested legislation are still being worked on and would be clear when parliament reconvenes to discuss the bill, certainly within the coming year.
What You Can Do to Beat Trolls at their Own Game
As Australia waits for the legislation to help curb trolling, here are tips to help you deal with trolls in the meantime: Ignore them: Trolls thrive on attention. By ignoring trolls, you deny them their mainstay and suffocate them to oblivion. You can do this by not replying to their offensive posts.
Blocking: Identify trolls in your social media posts and block them from viewing your comments.
Talk: If trolling is getting the better of you, speak to a friend or family and share how you feel.
Report: Report trolls to social media companies or page admins, or even to the police. Reporting may deter their activities and help you lead a peaceful life online.