Parliamentary Friends of Making Social Media Safe launched

2021 has provided watershed moments for social media platforms and its influence on our lives. From the de-platforming of Donald Trump, to Facebook stripping access to news on its platforms in response to the Australian Governments Media Bargaining Code legislation. Australians have been confronted with the power of Big Tech and its influence on our lives.

The Parliamentary Friends of Making Social Media Safe has been established to spark conversation on the need for greater regulation of the online space, and establishing frameworks governing online speech and conduct.

Co-Chairs, Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster and Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, were excited to see the launch of the Parliamentary Friends group, and thanked Reset Australia for their support for the event. 

Anne Webster, said that “thanks to the social media platforms, we have arrived at a new reality of 'glocalisation', where the local has merged with the global through online portals.”  

“We have become increasingly reliant on Big Tech companies and their services, and governments around the world have not kept pace with these transformations and their consequences.” 

“The problem we face now is that Big Tech companies are themselves responsible for determining their own limitations. They are acting as the moral arbiters of our society, which I argue, is the role of a representative government, not a technology company. 

“It is deeply concerning that many thousands of people who are attacked online, and endure bullying and defamation lack the means to clear their name or protect their family.” Dr Webster said.  

Sharon Claydon said “These platforms have made it much easier for individuals to be defamed and their reputations sullied; for vulnerable people to be bullied, harassed and exploited; and for coercive control to be utilised to instil fear in women.” 

“It has also created the conditions for entire communities to be maligned, victimised or persecuted; for the amplification of hate speech from far-right extremist groups; and for the glorification and incitement of violence.” 

“We can no longer ignore the very real threats that social media poses. Parliament now has an urgent responsibility to ensure that there is adequate protection for our people, our communities and, indeed, the very fabric of our democracy.”  Ms Claydon said. 

Todays launch included special guests the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Shadow Minister for Communication Michelle Rowland, Chris Cooper, Executive Director, Reset Australia, Mr Damian Collins MP, member of the UK parliament, and Ms Julie Inman Grant, eSafety commissioner.

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