The Abbott Government Wants To Fine Social Media Sites $17,000 A Day If They Don't Help Prevent Cyberbullying

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Websites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be targeted by the federal government’s new online child safety authority, in an effort to crackdown on offensive online material.

The office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, introduced today, will be tasked with addressing cyberbullying content posted on social media websites.

The popular sites will face fines of up to $17,000 a day if they repeatedly refuse to remove objectionable and abusive material aimed at Australian kids, the Courier Mail reports.

The Commissioner’s office can also pursue Federal Court injunctions against users who post the content if they refuse to remove material and apologise to victims.

Parliamentary secretary for communications Paul Fletcher said social media websites will undergo a two-tiered monitoring system, where they are initially able to comply voluntarily with the take-down orders but will face more scrupulous measures if they do not conform.

“The way it’s been set up is to make sure that the large social media service has a strong incentive to comply, because they know if they don’t they are exposed to this risk,” Fletcher said.

Anticipating “significant complaint volumes” a large team of support staff will be assembled from different government communications departments to assist the commissioner.

Government research reveals one in five children are victims of online bullying.

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