Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all reportedly rejected a proposal from Australia’s media regulator to implement an industry code of conduct on fake news. An association representing the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe argue that the rules would make the government “a truth verification body.”
The Guardian reports that Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all rejected proposals for an industry code of conduct on fake news from Australia’s media regulator. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommended a new code of conduct to ensure fairness and transparency in the digital ad market and to outline the handling of complaints about inaccurate information which would be enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
But a non-profit association representing the social media and digital giants in Australia called the Digital Industry Group Inc has argued that a “one-size-fits-all” code of conduct on fake news would not work. Figi argues that what may be considered appropriate in one forum, such as the removal of a public post containing disinformation “may be considered as intrusive and inappropriate on a private messaging platform.”
Digi states that “an appropriate intervention on one platform (such as partnerships with third-party fact-checkers) may be cost-prohibitive and unscalable for another.” Digit stated that although the ACCC attempted to avoid the Australian government “directly determining the trustworthiness” of news, the recommendation “effectively [put] that burden on platforms.”
Digi stated: “The ACCC indicates that the code would enable members of the public who are unsatisfied with digital platforms’ handling of their complaints about disinformation or malinformation [to] refer these to the regulator. This effectively makes the ACMA a truth verification body, as its judgements as to whether a digital platform adequately handled the complaints speak to the regulator’s own assessment of truth in relation to the matter in question.”
Digi warned that if privacy compliance “becomes overly complex” it could result “in declining conversion rates and revenue, global companies and startups may withdraw or not develop products and services for the Australian market”.