Australia announced anti-trolling legislation, on Sunday, that requires social media companies to reveal anonymous users who post defamatory comments.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new measure following a September ruling by Australia’s highest court that found publishers can be held liable for public comments in online forums, according to the Associated Press.
Under the law, digital media companies like Twitter and Facebook will be deemed a “publisher,” making them responsible for moderating defamatory material on their platforms.
Morrison stated that the companies would also be required to take down the “digital shield” of protections that they currently extend to anonymous trolls online.
“Free speech is not being allowed to cowardly hide in your basement and sledge and slur and harass people anonymously, and seek to destroy their lives,” Morrison said. “That’s not freedom, that’s cowardice, and there’s no place for that in this country. In this country, we value freedom of speech, and freedom of speech means you take responsibility for what you say.”
Finally, the minister affirmed that the companies must have processes in place to take quickly and effectively take down defamatory content to protect the country’s citizens, especially women and children who are victims of online harassment.