Australia’s parliament passed legislation on Thursday that could jail social network executives if their platforms convey real violence, such as shooting at the New Zealand mosque. Australia will fine social media and web hosting companies to up to 10 percent of their annual global billing and imprison executives for up to three years if the violent content is not removed “quickly” under a new law.
The new law passed by parliament on Thursday is in response to an armed man’s attack on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, in which 50 people died while attending Friday prayers. The gunman broadcast his attack live on Facebook and was shared for more than an hour before being eliminated, a period of time that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described as unacceptable. Under the new laws, it is now a crime in Australia for companies, such as Facebook Inc and Google Alphabet, the owner of YouTube, not to remove videos or photographs that show murder, torture or violations without delay. Companies must also inform the Australian police within a “reasonable” time frame.