Australia gives Twitter 28 days to clean up ‘toxicity and hate’

Australia’s internet safety watchdog threatened to penalize Twitter on Thursday for not stopping online harassment, claiming that Elon Musk’s acquisition has been accompanied by an increase in “toxicity and hate.”

Former Twitter employee Julie Inman Grant, who currently serves as Australia’s e-safety commissioner, claimed that the social media site was now to blame for one out of every three complaints about online hate speech.

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According to Inman Grant, Twitter had 28 days to demonstrate that it was committed to resolving the issue or risk fines of Aus$700,000 (US$475,000) for each day it missed the deadline.

Musk has cut more than 80% of the global workforce since acquiring the platform in October 2022, including many of the content moderators in charge of eradicating abuse.

“Twitter appears to have dropped the ball on tackling hate,” said Inman Grant, who worked on cyber safety at the company after 17 years at Microsoft.

She said the watchdog was “far from being alone in its concern about increasing levels of toxicity and hate on Twitter, particularly targeting marginalised communities”.

Inman Grant has already publicly singled out Twitter in the global movement to regulate social media sites, which has its origins in Australia.

In a letter to Musk in November of last year, she expressed concern that significant personnel reductions might prevent the business from complying with Australian legislation.

One of the most well-known indigenous journalists in Australia, Stan Grant, revealed in May that he had complained to Twitter about the “relentless racial filth” he had encountered there.

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