Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says the federal government just isn’t joking over plans to control social media

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says it is time to regulate the social media giants after a former Facebook employee warned the US Senate of the platform’s dangers.

Important points:

  • Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says the government is ready to regulate social media

  • He says his desire to regulate the sector is related to his parenting experience

  • The comments come after the prime minister dubbed social media the “coward’s palace”

The company came under scrutiny this week after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked tens of thousands of documents showing research into the harms of its products was withheld.

In Australia, the government is preparing to regulate social media, according to Joyce.

“The motivation is now at the federal level in Australia, at the highest level in the United States, in other parts of the world to say, ‘We’ve had enough, you can’t treat us like fools. You think we’re kidding, we’re not “Joyce told ABC’s PM program.

“Something will happen this time”

Mr Joyce said laws restricting the power of the social media giants would “soon” be on the table.

“It is rare for a Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister to have the same messages on virtually the same day.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced changes to social media laws in Australia.

“Social media has become a cowardly palace where people can go on, not say who they are, and destroy people’s lives,” he said.

It’s personal to Joyce

Mr Joyce said the passion for social media came from his parenting experience and he expressed his anger over rumors about his eldest daughter that had spread on social media.

“[I’m acting] On behalf of every parent, every mother, every person who has dealt with a daughter who has been intimidated, bullied, basically psychologically torn to pieces by marauding and uncontrolled forces on the internet, “he said.

Mr Joyce said his parenting experience was part of the motivation to regulate social media companies.

ABC News: Elise Pianegonda


Mr Joyce added that if social media companies are smart enough to make billions, they are smart enough to make their products safer.

“We spend billions of dollars on mental health issues in Australia – Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms are making billions in profits selling a product that in many cases I believe would be a food product that would be taken off the shelf. “

Snapchat is taking action

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media giants facing scandals and pressure to reform.

Snapchat, the self-destructing app for messages and videos, is under significant pressure to curb illicit drug sales on the platform.

In some cases, prescription drugs and recreational drugs contained counterfeit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than heroin.

On Friday, Snapchat stepped up its efforts to exterminate drug dealers using the app.

Drug dealers use social media

Alexander Neville smiles, he has braces and is wearing a blue t-shirt.

Alexander Neville ordered what he thought were oxycodone pills on the social media app Snapchat. What he didn’t know was that they had been treated with a lethal dose of fentanyl.

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The company has launched a new in-app education portal called Heads Up, which distributes content from expert organizations. It also introduced a new filter that warns teenagers about the dangers of fentanyl.

Snapchat will dedicate an episode of its Good Luck America news program to the topic of fentanyl.

The deputy prime minister said it was too little, too late.

“It’s fluffy excuses,” said Mr. Joyce.

“This is another example of how they treat the people who made them billionaires with contempt.

“These people have been the beneficiaries of the product they stand behind and that now they come out and say, ‘Oh, we didn’t know that was a problem and we’re investigating – it’s offensive.”

A Snapchat spokesman admitted there was a problem with illegal drugs being sold on the platform and said the company was addressing the problem.

Unlike Facebook, which commissioned and kept secret investigations into the possible damage the platform was causing, Snapchat was transparent in its research.

The company commissioned a study by Morning Consult that looked at 13- to 24-year-olds’ awareness of fentanyl and why they bought prescription pills.

Public health professionals have welcomed Snapchat’s initiatives.

Monica Barratt, of RMIT University, an expert on the intersection between drugs and technology, said social channels should work with not only addiction prevention organizations for public announcements, but harm reduction agencies as well.

“I think it’s excellent that they’ve been doing some contract research there so they can see that there’s actually an awareness gap,” she said.

“On the one hand, they should try to prevent this from happening, but on the other hand they could also focus on safer application strategies. What to do if someone overdoses, how to get access to naloxone available to reverse an opioid overdose? .

“It can definitely save lives in this room.”

Can Big Tech Really Be Regulated?

Chris Cooper, the executive director of Reset Australia, a think tank working on policy solutions to regulate big tech, said Australian politicians should be encouraged to bring about change in the US through bipartisan support between Republicans and Democrats.

“It is important that we build on these moments and that our politicians feel encouraged by them this week and have the extra confidence they have now that there is clearly a need for regulation and obviously the public’s appetite for it too,” he said .

A man stands in front of a video screen with a Facebook logo while posing with a smartphone Whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before the U.S. Senate this week that she believed Facebook knew the company’s products were harming users.

Reuters: Dado Ruvic


Mr Cooper said Reset Australia and whistleblower Frances Haugen both called for more transparency into the way social media platforms drive algorithms to shape the content Australians consume.

“We have requested transparency with regard to COVID misinformation. Very simple laws that could better inform communications around our vaccine launch, ”said Cooper.

He said Australia needs to put in place laws to protect young people, such as introducing a child data code that would be similar to the laws in place in the UK and Ireland.

“In practice, this means the maximum level of data protection. It means not recommending 40-year-olds as friends to 16-year-olds, ”he said.

“It means making sure that young people’s data is well protected and managed, and that young people have the opportunity to request their profiles to be deleted, and it’s easy and straightforward.”

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