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Australia Passes Social Media Law Over Violent Content

The Law Council of Australia said the legislation could have "serious unintended consequences", CNN reported

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Multiple apps are displayed on an iPhone in New York.. VOA

Internet providers and tech giants like Facebook and Google will be compelled to remove violent content in a sweeping new law passed in Australia on Thursday.

Under the new law, which passed both houses of Parliament, obligations will be placed on internet companies to stop the spread of violent material. Failure to do so could see executives face up to three years in jail, or fines of up to 10 per cent of the platform’s annual turnover, reports CNN.

The development comes in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch which was live streamed on social media by the shooter while he killed 50 worshippers in two mosques.

Platforms have struggled in the weeks since to remove copies of the video, which have been repeatedly uploaded.

“The tragedy in Christchurch just over two weeks ago brought this issue to a head,” Australian Attorney General Christian Porter said in a statement on Thursday.

Social media
An illustration picture shows a man starting his Twitter app on a mobile device in Hanau near Frankfurt. VOA

“It was clear from our discussions last week with social media companies, particularly Facebook, that there was no recognition of the need for them to act urgently to protect their own users from the horror of the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre and other violent crimes, and so the (government) has taken action with this legislation.”

The law was passed with the support of the opposition Labor Party and despite strenuous objections from industry bodies and some lawmakers, who warned against a knee-jerk rush to pass legislation that could have far-reaching ramifications.

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The Law Council of Australia said the legislation could have “serious unintended consequences”, CNN reported.

“Making social media companies and their executives criminally liable for the live streaming of criminal content is a serious step which requires careful consideration. Furthermore, the proposed legislation should not absolve the government taking steps to prevent crimes being live streamed,” Law Council President Arthur Moses SC said in a statement. (IANS)

Next Story

Collective Attention Span Among People Decreases Rapidly as of 24/7 News Availability

"As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual's ability to evaluate the information they consume," said researchers. 

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"Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person," Lehmann noted. Pixabay

People are losing their collective attention span rapidly owing to the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), staying up-to-date on social media and breaking news coming at them 24/7 via various platforms, a team of European scientists has warned.

The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity.

FOMO is social anxiety characterised by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

“It seems the allocated attention in our collective minds has a certain size, but the cultural items competing for that attention have become densely packed. “This would support the claim that it has indeed become difficult to stay up-to-date on the news cycle, for example,” said Professor Sune Lehmann from Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

social media
The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity. Pixabay

To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years.

In addition, they gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015) and Wikipedia (2012-2017).

When looking into the global daily top 50 hashtags on Twitter, scientists found that peaks became increasingly steep and frequent. In 2013, a hashtag stayed in the top 50 for around 17.5 hours and gradually decreased to 11.9 hours in 2016.

The trend is mirrored in other domains, online and offline as well.

“Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person,” Lehmann noted.

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To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. 
Pixabay

The study was conducted by a team of European scientists from Technische Universitat Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, University College Cork and DTU.

Also Read: New Survey Indicates, Indians Most Worry About Terrorism, Unemployment And Corruption

“As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual’s ability to evaluate the information they consume,” said researchers.

Acceleration increases, for example, the pressure on journalists’ ability to keep up with an ever-changing news landscape. “We hope more research in this direction will inform the way we design new communication systems,” the team said. (IANS)