The Wall Street Journal published an article recently which outlines how New Zealand and Australia are pushing for harsher regulation of Facebook following the recent Christchurch shooting.
Facebook has come under intense scrutiny from regulators in New Zealand and Australia following the shooting at the Christchurch Mosque in which at least 50 people were killed. In a recent article titled “Pressure Mounts on Facebook to Police Users’ Content,” the Wall Street Journal descriebs the increasing pressure that has been placed on Facebook to further police their platform following the shootings.
The WSJ reports:
Pressure on Facebook is mounting following a live stream of the New Zealand mosque massacre, with the nation’s leader calling for an overhaul of the country’s social-media laws and her Australian counterpart proposing criminal penalties for companies that are slow to remove such content.
In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a local TV show Tuesday that she was looking for “meaningful change” to the country’s social-media laws and needed time to work out proposals. In neighboring Australia, where the mosque shooter was from, the government has proposed penalties that could include fines for companies and jail time for social-media executives.
The two antipodean nations are joining other parts of the world—in particular Europe—in demanding faster action from social-media firms on topics ranging from the removal of terrorist propaganda to monitoring live streaming and cooperating more with police investigations. The horror of the mosque shooting video, in which the shooter showed part of the March 15 gun rampage that left 50 people dead and was left up for more than 30 minutes after the live stream ended, is giving authorities more public support to revamp social-media laws.
The WSJ notes that despite being a relatively small market, countries such as Australia and New Zealand actually have quite a bit of influence over Facebook:
Despite being relatively small markets, Australia and New Zealand may carry more clout in the debate over how Facebook moderates content. “English-speaking countries, at least for now, have a lot bigger impact,” said Harvard Law School professor Rebecca Tushnet.
Facebook has been criticized in the past for allowing videos of beatings and murders to be broadcast. It said the delay in taking down the 17-minute video filmed in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch stemmed in part from artificial-intelligence programs that failed to raise a warning.
Facebook’s vice president of product management Guy Rosen commented on the possibility of holding Facebook criminally liable for the content posted by it’s users stating that the company is “committed to working with governments, civil society and other experts to design appropriate frameworks which take account of the different characteristics of platforms and services, like live streaming.”
It is not expected, however, that Australia or the E.U.’s actions will have any significant impact on how the U.S. deals with Facebook:
Overseas actions are unlikely to have an effect on Facebook’s U.S. operations. In the U.S., tech platforms are generally protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which broadly exempts companies like Facebook from legal responsibility for what people post on its site.
That longstanding protection played a formative role in fostering social media’s growth. Still, the U.S. passed a law last year that could make it easier for foreign governments to get user information from tech firms after terrorist attacks.
In the EU, Security Commissioner Julian King invoked the Christchurch attack last week to urge lawmakers to speed up work on the law regarding the regulation terrorist content. “Failure to do this only helps the extremists,” he said.
Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org