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Proposed anti-trolling laws could worsen online abuse, Australian law experts say

24 Jan 2022 By theguardian

Proposed anti-trolling laws could worsen online abuse, Australian law experts say

The Morrison government released the proposed anti-trolling bill in early December, claiming it could help victims of trolling by incentivising social media companies to set up complaints-handling procedures that can reveal the identities of anonymous commenters.

The bill primarily helps operators of social media accounts by deeming they are not the publishers of comments by other users on their posts.

Instead, the social media companies will be held liable as publishers, although they can access a defence if they have an appropriate complaints procedure.

The Law Council submitted that the reform should wait until after a separate review by state and federal attorneys-general into liability for digital defamation, which was launched after the high court found media companies could be liable for third-party comments on their social media posts.

Rolph suggested that social media page operators should still be liable if they are given notice of a defamatory comment.

The submission by prominent plaintiff practitioners was co-signed by solicitors Patrick George and Rebekah Giles, and barristers Richard Potter, Kieran Smark and Nicholas Olson.

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