Social media giants vow to target abusers
SOCIAL media giants Google, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram have agreed to mandate user warnings to help stamp out online abuse, in response to Queensland's landmark Anti‑Cyber-bullying Taskforce.
Australian television networks have also told the Queensland Government they are prepared to introduce a bullying warning for confrontational programs as they do for violence, coarse language, adult themes and sex scenes.
In a victory for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's push to stamp out cyber-bullying, the social network juggernauts are working towards introducing warnings which effectively intervene when cyber-bullying or online abuse is suspected.
Software is being developed to counter bullying techniques. Police and schools would be notified.
The crackdown comes after Ms Palaszczuk wrote to the social media companies last month urging they make significant changes to their operating model to help cyber bullying reform.
It follows the Queensland Government's commitment to reducing or stamping out cyber-bullying after it accepted all 29 recommendations of an Anti-Bullying Taskforce report.
Ms Palaszczuk took action following a spate of youth suicides and a spike in cyber-bullying cases, including Queensland schoolgirl Amy Jayne "Dolly" Everett, who tragically took her life after being bullied in January 2018.
The spotlight on the moral and ethical obligations of social media companies has intensified in the wake of the Christchurch shootings where video of the massacre was live-streamed by the gunman.
Google and Youtube said they were developing software to detect and remove bullying content.
In her letter to the companies, Ms Palaszczuk says while social media was part of life, there was unanimous agreement from the taskforce that social media companies should take greater responsibility for preventing or reducing cyber-bullying. The Government is hopeful the tech giants will have new software in place by the end of the year.
In a further move to counter bullying, the ABC has written to the Premier, indicating it would "further investigate a special classification for bullying".
Other networks are expected to follow suit.
The classification measure means a show with explicit bullying - verbal or physical - would carry a viewer warning.
Television watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, has received complaints about the bullying behaviour of several Married at First Sight contestants and under the new framework, it would carry a warning.