AUSTRALIA: According to the Australian eSafety commissioner, Twitter is “inconsistent” in how rapidly it reacts to requests from the Australian government while also having to carry out requests to censor political tweets in Turkey.
In the days before Turkey’s elections, Twitter divulged earlier this month that it had carried out in compliance with a court order and blocked access to four accounts and 409 tweets from the country. Reportedly there have been tweets from an activist, a journalist, and a businessman among the four accounts that were critical of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president.
Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, defended the choice, saying that since Turkey had threatened to “throttle” the microblogging platform in the nation, the censorship was the necessary trade-off to keep Twitter operational.
Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety commissioner, described on Wednesday Twitter’s failure to respond to letters from her office or the communications minister, Michelle Rowland, regarding the platform’s obligations for online safety under Australian law as a “terrible practise.”
Inman Grant told Senate estimates that the single remaining public policy contact for Twitter in the Asia Pacific region is located in Singapore. While she acknowledged the company did ultimately respond to a legal notice in February regarding how Twitter was tackling online child abuse material, she said it took almost three months and several extensions from her office.
She mentions, “We are still evaluating that content; they have reacted to our legal compulsion warning regarding basic online safety expectations, and we are currently evaluating that content.”
“To my knowledge, Elon Musk has not formally responded to the Safety Commissioner or the Minister other than tweeting at me about a few issues,” she concluded.
The federal government is actively debating whether to move forward with age-restriction technology for adult content online. However, under the Online Safety Act, Inman Grant already has the power to order websites hosting R18+ or over content to place that content behind a restricted access system.
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