When Big Tech extorts democracies, it’s time for tougher regulations

  • Media Release
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Following today’s shocking revelations about the behaviour of Facebook during negotiations of the News Media Bargaining Code, Reset Australia is calling for a radical overhaul of Big Tech regulation.

“Facebook had almost seven months to prepare for their news ban, and they made a calculated decision to turn off the primary communications channel for fire services during bushfire season, public hospitals in a pandemic, candidates in the middle of an election, and even suicide hotlines. It wasn’t their incompetence that saw those pages shut down, it was intentional, calculated malice. All to win a handful of concessions in sensible light touch regulation, said Chris Cooper, Executive Director of Reset Australia.

“They’ve well and truly crossed a red line and no longer deserve the benefit of our trust. It’s time for both parties to commit to the tough, systemic regulations we really need to make our digital world safe,”

“Facebook was never going to negotiate with the Government in good faith. They chose to endanger public safety as a negotiating tactic. They threatened community safety to extort policy changes. This was nothing less than a direct assault on our democratic process”

“Their actions were unconscionable, and it’s clear that a piece-meal approach to regulating platforms like Facebook won’t be enough to ensure the safe digital world that Australians want. Especially if all of our regulatory Codes continue to be drafted by industry, including Facebook’s representative body”.

Releasing a wide reaching policy vision, Reset Australia has called for an end to the ‘softly, softly’ approach to reigning in Big Tech.

“Big Tech has shown time and time again that they will knowingly undermine democracy, harm people and hurt children. It’s time to abandon our incremental, issue-by-issue approach to regulating these platforms”.

Reset is calling for an overhaul of Australia’s tech regulation that meets five common sense principles:

  1. Regulate the systems and processes: Focus regulation on eliminating risks from Big Tech systems and processes, expanding the current focus on content moderation
  2. Community and societal risk: Expand regulations to address community & societal risks, building on our comprehensive approach to Individual risks
  3. Platform accountability and transparency: Ensure regulation creates accountability & transparency, rather than placing the burden on individuals
  4. Comprehensive regulation: Ensure the regulatory framework is comprehensive, by improving our current regulatory gaps and disjunctures
  5. Strong regulators and enforced regulation: Ensure regulation is strong and enforced, by moving away from self- and co-regulation, and resourcing and joining up regulators

For more information, contact Chris Cooper on 0403 353 621

Reset Australia’s report on the digital regulation can be found here