Do we Need to Regulate Google and Facebook

I saw a good one today. YouTube is merging with Twitter and Facebook. It is being called Youtwitface… sorry.


New Australian laws to unmask anonymous online trolls and make tech giants pay

This sounds like a step in the right direction however I wonder how effective it will be.

If the companies refuse or are unable to identify who made the defamatory comments, then they will have to pay the defamation costs.

How many existing social media accounts actually identify a real person? What about creating new accounts from free email accounts? Can the IP address be used to reliably identify people and will that require the cooperating of ISPs as well?

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There are systems available which allow this to occur and used by law enforcement agencies. If the platforms open there systems up to law enforcement agencies, then, technically possible. This is how they catch criminal gangs or other undesirable offenders who don’t create unique systems to try and hide their activities.

If one routes through countries which don’t have bilateral agreements with Australia and fortress servers in such countries are used, there could be problems…

BUT, I suspect they won’t open or provide back door access to law enforcement agencies.

I expect platforms will start using secondary verification such as mobile numbers, to authentic accounts. If you don’t agree to such authentication, expect accounts to be locked or deleted.

They could, like some already to, is capture mobile phone details through smart phone apps - store the data and share when required. Twitter etc already do this to block banned users from creating new accounts using the same mobile/mobile number.

The two stage verification using mobiles would be better and more obvious, and could be accompanied with warnings about disclosure and use.

Australia might be one of the first to introduce such legislation, but it is likely many others will follow as evidenced in the recent past. The platforms will comply if they want to survive.

I haven’t read the draft legislation or its application, but I expect it will capture any platform/forum where users can post public comments. This might include forums like this community.

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As a point of difference or distraction heading into a Federal election?
In encouraging social media platforms to ignore Australia as a worthwhile customer base?

The announcement is encouragingly for the moral high ground. As a future agenda item it may or may not become a legislative reality, irrespective of future leadership.

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The very idea sounds like a nightmarish big brother scenario.


Must be an election coming. The silly distractions are starting.
As if any pie in the sky Australian thought-bubble law proposal would have any effect on the big social media platforms that are located outside of this country.

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Ya think? Seems to me its an effort to expose those who criticise various government officials… I imagine Peter Dutton would have a field day. Its not for the public good. Is for those with power and money.


So are you saying the anonymity of internet must be maintained so that in this country critics of government can remain hidden? If not I don’t understand.

One opinion is that it could work that way, once anyone, including a politician had established to an appropriate legal standard there was a need to seek out and bring to court the unknown source/s. The proposal includes the State funding all subsequent legal action on behalf of the complainant. There would still supposedly be a cost to the complainant initially in satisfying a court there was a sustainable complaint. The suggestion leading to avoidance of frivolous and vexatious claims of little prospect. One observer has suggested this is a law more for the benefit of the better off, expensed to the community.

Some also see this as a second attempt to deliver a proposal recently raised in parliament which did not receive further support. The topic being discussed does have some overlap. How much overlap? The following describes what was being proposed for parliamentarians.

There was a time, and there are still nations, where saying anything other than support for the King could be taken as treason or seditious thought, punishable by ……
The effectiveness apparently depends on enforcement and ensuring mass communication does not break out. :rofl:


Politicians will fiercely defend their rights to say pretty much anything against others whilst in parliament using Parliamentary Priviledge.
And yet some like Dutton think the reverse should not be allowed, and taxpayer money should be used to go after these critics legally.
But we are off topic.

Isn’t a similar position being used by Facebook and others. That users should be free to speak under Facebook or Google privilege, and even more so when a paying customer of either?

Both forums promote their own brands and standards of integrity. For which there may be more in common than in difference?

It’s respectfully IMHO on topic to ask whether we should be asking a higher standard of one than the other, or perhaps even both.

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EU Consumer Groups are ramping up pressure for authorities to take action over what they have termed are “unfair privacy policy practices”.

There are at least 2 civil antitrust cases Google is facing charges for in the EU. They have already had an 8 Bn dollar fine. Will more financial pain be in their future?

Has CHOICE any plans to take further action? Perhaps raise a type of super complaint with our Privacy body?


Some of the downsides of social media regulation: Whistleblower says China, India had agents working for Twitter See also the comment about Russia in that article. :open_mouth:

Is there a version of for governments? :joy:

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Wikileaks? Oh wait - I didn’t mean that ASIS! Really, nothing to see here.

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Ha ha - but that’s not really what I meant. I meant: a web site where governments can go to find creative ways of (ab)using their powers, or creative ways of achieving things, that may technically be legal but may nevertheless be frowned upon, particularly if it all comes to light (for example via WikiLeaks :slight_smile:).

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These parents in the USA would answer ‘Yes’.

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A bit of regulation Meta ignored. I doubt anything will change as corporations are organised to indemnify their executives. Take away their indemnification for corporate wrong doing and while it would likely stifle ‘creativity’ it also might get attention so they at least try to do the right thing.


To clarify that comment … a corporation has the choice to indemnify executives (and most large ones do so) and to determine the circumstances in which the indemnity would apply (it doesn’t have to be a “blank cheque” and would not usually be). This is only relevant though when an individual executive is subject to legal action, rather than the corporation as a whole.

The government’s attempting to target individual executives is fraught because in many cases it will be impossible to demonstrate that a particular individual executive was responsible for an action (and that makes the whole prosecution more drawn out, more costly, more contested). Of course you can ignore that and just punish executives who were not responsible (at the cost of losing legal fairness i.e. introducing “group punishment”).

Meta said it would appeal against the decision

And rightly so. While I understand what the EU is trying to achieve, the whole idea is fundamentally against the idea of the internet. As the article says

the internet risked being carved up into national and regional silos as a result

i.e. in effect China would have its internal network, Russia would have its internal network, the EU would have its internal network and, knowing Australia, we would be part of the US network.

Goodness knows what the EU bureaucrats would make of truly distributed storage i.e. where it simply isn’t possible to say where a piece of information is located at any one time (only that it can reliably be accessed when needed).

I am fairly unsympathetic to anyone who complains about Facebook (social media in general) in the context of privacy. We all know that their business model is raping your privacy. If you don’t like it, don’t use it. You can’t expect or strive for privacy and yet use social media.

If the EU can’t cope with that then they should just ban social media in its current form. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the EU goes “the full China” and encourages local alternatives while protecting them from competition by banning foreign operators - because the business model would be unchanged: if you aren’t paying for the product then you are the product.

Right now it looks as if the EU is attempting to have the benefits of social media but without the costs. TANSTAAFL.

Is a better answer to have paid-for social media? How much would you pay per annum in order to use social media? … with the understanding that the annual subscription is enough to cover the costs and deliver a reasonable return on investment but that the company would not rape your privacy for money.

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You seem to be saying that because users are (or should be) aware that their personal data will be used for commercial purposes and they have consented to that happening then they have given up the right for their representatives to keep their data out of the hands of the US government. Is that what you are saying?


Not really sure that this an Internet issue per se, but an application issue and where data holding servers are located.

There is a problem with Chinese based social media companies and comms companies since the Government there has laws that require access to everything.

Well so does the US Gov. The Patriot Act, the FISA act, the Freedom act, and the NSA.