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Twitter granted 28-day deadline to address “toxicity and hate”

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Australia’s internet safety watchdog has issued a stern warning to Twitter, demanding that the social media platform take immediate action to address the escalating problems of toxicity and hate speech.

According to Agence France-Presse, the e-safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, who was previously an employee of Twitter, revealed that the platform now accounts for one-third of all hate speech complaints reported in Australia.

Inman Grant has given Twitter a strict deadline of 28 days to demonstrate its commitment to tackling this issue. Failure to comply could result in daily fines of Aus$700,000 (US$475,000). To avoid penalties, Twitter must present a comprehensive plan outlining the specific measures it intends to implement to combat online hate and enforce its own rules.

Inman Grant emphasized the necessity of holding platforms accountable and safeguarding their users.

She underscored the importance of transparency, indicating that legal notices like the one issued to Twitter are intended to promote this accountability.

Following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in October 2022, the platform underwent significant restructuring.

Over 80 percent of the global workforce was laid off, including numerous content moderators responsible for curbing abusive behavior.

In November, Musk declared a broad amnesty, allowing previously suspended or banned accounts to rejoin the platform.

Inman Grant expressed, “concern over Twitter’s apparent failure to effectively address the issue of hate speech. “

She acknowledged that many share these concerns, particularly regarding the targeting of marginalized communities.

The e-safety commissioner also highlighted reports indicating that Twitter’s own terms of service were being violated, as inappropriate content remained accessible.

Australia has taken a leading role in global efforts to regulate social media platforms, and this is not the first time Inman Grant has publicly criticized Twitter. In November, she wrote to Elon Musk, expressing her apprehensions about the company’s downsizing and its potential impact on compliance with Australian laws.

In addition to Australia’s concerns, there have been other legal challenges against Twitter. Major music publishers in the United States recently filed a lawsuit accusing the platform of failing to prevent widespread copyright infringement. Furthermore, a European Union commissioner accused Twitter of adopting a confrontational approach after it withdrew from a voluntary digital code of practice.

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