Meta, Google grilled over misinformation and cyberbullying, Twitter next

Sydney, Jan 20 (IANS) An Australian government committee on Thursday grilled Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google about the spread of misinformation and cyberbullying across their platforms.

Google’s director of government affairs and public policy, Lucinda Longcroft, was asked by the committee about misleading Covid-19 information on YouTube, and was specifically shown at least nine United Australia Party (UAP) ads containing Covid misinformation.

Conceding the existence of these ads on YouTube, Longcroft told the panel that the platform’s Covid misinformation policies are “robust, rapid, and effectively enforced”, reports ZDNet.

The committee was established late last year to inquire into the practises of major technology companies.

Twitter was set to appear before the committee on Friday.

Meta representatives also appeared before the committee and were grilled about the death and rape threats directed towards Australian presenter Erin Molan and her young daughter on Facebook.

Molan had testified earlier that she submitted a request on Facebook for those threats to be removed from the platform.

“In response to the request, Facebook sent an automated response that the content would remain online”.

Meta ANZ policy director Mia Garlick told the committee that they could not locate Molan’s original request.

“Unfortunately, in the real world, we haven’t been able to locate that original complaint and so I think a police report was made and we worked through that process to make sure that we were taking appropriate action,” Garlick was quoted as saying.

In the latest crackdown on big tech, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in December that Big tech created these platforms and they have a responsibility to ensure their users are safe.

“Big tech has big questions to answer. But we also want to hear from Australians; parents, teachers, athletes, small businesses and more, about their experience, and what needs to change,” he said.