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Last stroke for keyboard cowards



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For more information contact Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677 or Sharon Smith on 0433 620 850

29/7/13

LAST STROKE FOR KEYBOARD COWARDS • Push for law reform and Parliamentary Inquiry into Facebook, Twitter trolls Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has put Facebook and Twitter trolls on notice they’ll be subject to tougher laws with draft legislation he is preparing. Senator Xenophon referred to the recent case in the UK involving Caroline Criado-Perez, who was subjected to as many as 50 rape threats an hour via Twitter after spearheading a successful campaign to have a woman included on a British bank note. More than 40,000 people in the UK have signed an online petition calling on Twitter to improve its abuse reporting mechanisms. Senator Xenophon said there is clearly a need for Facebook and Twitter in particular to be made accountable for the protection of their users against abuse such as threats, harassment and defamation. “It’s about time Twitter and Facebook stopped letting these cowards and bullies hide behind their online personas with impunity,” Nick said. “The fact is, Facebook and Twitter are making it difficult for Australian law enforcement authorities to deal with these threats and for individuals to take legitimate action for grossly defamatory comments. “Facebook and Twitter are a law unto themselves and right now our agencies seem powerless to deal with the torrent of abuse that’s flowing across social media. “This is not a matter of curbing free speech,” Nick said, “it’s about the freedom of all of us to be able to enjoy the benefits of social media without being subjected to unlawful attacks.” Senator Xenophon will seek a Parliamentary Inquiry and introduce legislation to provide protection for social media users. He has also written to the Attorney-General and Foreign Minister calling for the United States and other governments to ensure the co-operation of global internet giants to enforce Australian law. “Right now Australian authorities have one hand tied behind their back when trying to investigate allegations of online abuse. Keyboard cowards might behave differently if they knew they would be hauled before the courts for their actions.”