Australia’s PM Criticizes TikTok Suicide Video

Date: 2020-09-11 00:15:49


Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday urged social media companies to take more responsibility for offensive content, as regulators ruled out prosecuting TikTok over an apparent suicide video under tough new laws prohibiting some forms of violent online images.

In a video released by his office, Scott Morrison said that eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s online watchdog, is taking “strong action” against what he described as a “disgraceful video.”

“Those who run these organizations have a responsibility to those who are watching and particularly when it comes to children,” he said.

Morrison added social media companies needed to “be accountable and … responsible for making sure that your product does not harm Australians, and my government will be making sure that we do everything to hold you to account for that.”

Chinese-owned TikTok says it is working to remove videos of a man apparently taking his own life with a gun and banning users who keep trying to spread the clips through the app.

Australia last year took extraordinary legislative steps to remove violent content from internet platforms. Social media executives can be imprisoned if their platforms stream real violence under the new laws.

The legislation was a response to an Australian gunman who used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live on Facebook as he murdered 51 worshippers in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

But the eSafety Commissioner’s office said TikTok could not be prosecuted under the laws, as it was not considered “abhorrent violent material -– because it is not violent terrorism, murder or attempted murder, rape, torture or kidnapping.”

The office is working with social media companies to “to remove content and monitor the situation,” Inman Grant said in a statement.

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