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Google Throws Its Support Behind Australia’s Online “Misinformation” Censorship

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Google’s recent endorsement of the Australian government’s proposal to bolster the powers of the media watchdog, aimed at countering online “misinformation,” unfolds a narrative much larger than what meets the eye. The discourse transcended beyond its original intent during a Senate inquiry on Tuesday, which saw representatives from tech behemoths delve into the implications of amplifying the regulatory might of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The draft legislation in the spotlight seeks to empower ACMA with an enforceable industry code of conduct to ensure digital platforms rigorously address misinformation and disinformation. While the legislation does not authorize the ACMA to remove content deemed inappropriate, it does allow the body to scrutinize the internal practices of platforms, paving the way for penalties should they deviate from the code.

This development signals a furthering of the usual, revealing Google’s willingness to align with government interests, as shown by Lucinda Longcroft, a government relations representative for Google.

In a statement to the Australian Associated Press, Longcroft lauded the ACMA’s approach, deeming it apt and asserting that Google was proud to be among the initial endorsers of the misinformation and disinformation code outlined in the draft legislation.

However, the discussion with Longcroft went further mere legislative implications when constitutional expert Anne Twomey’s apprehensions were brought to the fore.

Twomey posited that the proposed laws could be a harbinger of challenges too substantial to surmount, as platforms might resort to excessive content removal, thereby jeopardizing the sanctity of free speech.

Longcroft highlighted Google’s proactive stance in combating misinformation, reflected in YouTube’s removal of 300,000 videos in Australia under the existing misinformation and disinformation code.

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