New Zealand is making online trolling and cyber bullying a criminal offence.
Parliament passed the Harmful Digital Communications Bill last week and it’s expected to come into play on Monday.
Under the legislation, online bullies could be fined or imprisoned for using threatening, intimidating or offensive language. It also covers harassment of a person and includes those who incite or egg anyone on to cause harm to an individual.
It means anyone using Facebook, Twitter or other online platforms to cause “serious emotional distress” is breaking the law. Fines of just over $NZ50,000 ($AU45,000) or a jail sentence can be imposed on individuals, while businesses found in breach of the legislation could be hit with fines up to $NZ200,000 ($AU180,000.
Tech companies will be required to ask authors to remove posts, or if the request is ignored, take them down. An agency will also be established to work with companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google to enforce the changes.