Briefing: Transparency Reports in Australia

  • Mis and Dis information
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This policy briefing reflects discussions held at a roundtable of 20 experts from academia and civil society in March 2024, where we explored the opportunities and challenges to regulate for transparency in the digital world in Australia. The event was held under the Chatham House Rule, and this briefing presents an overview of the discussion to advance thinking on best-practice transparency reporting and metrics specifically.

The focus on transparency reports is to inform a live policy discussion, with interest to legislators and regulators. The Albanese Government is considering regulatory frameworks for enhancing platform accountability for misinformation and disinformation issues, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has put out a tender for a consultant to help develop a set of ‘metrics’ for platform transparency reporting. The tender requires the successful contractor to consult with DIGI, platforms, industry, government and academic experts.

Transparency reporting can be a powerful tool but is no silver bullet. Effective transparency reports form one part of a broader transparency framework. The European model has shifted from a reliance on voluntary transparency reports to a more comprehensive regulatory framework where reports sit alongside risk assessments, independent audits, ad repositories and mandated researcher access to platform data. This presents one potential model for Australia to consider.

This memo summarises the discussions held and proposes some recommendations for Australia’s policy decision-makers. The event included three provocations, which are summarised below, as well as the broader discussion.

  1. Transparency reports in Australia
  2. Transparency reporting frameworks in Australia
  3. The EU approach to public transparency

This work is generously supported by the Susan McKinnon Foundation.

Download the report