A Facebook and Google-backed tech group in Australia has announced that it has put together a panel that will deal with and decides on misinformation complaints. 

The tech group known as Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) is also backed by Twitter and other tech giants. 

DIGI has also announced that it has expanded its voluntary code. It will likewise create a complaints portal where the Australian public can send in complaints involving any breaches to the voluntary code. 

This comes after the Australian government threatened to impose stricter laws concerning misinformation and defamation being posted online. 

Facebook and Google-Backed Tech Group Sets Up Adjudication Panel

A Facebook and Google-backed Australian tech group known as DIGI has announced that it has set up a panel that will be tasked with dealing with online misinformation complaints. 

According to a report by Reuters, DIGI "said its new misinformation oversight subcommittee showed the industry was willing to self-regulate against damaging posts." Aside from Facebook and Google, DIGI is also backed by Twitter. 

"A three-person "independent complaints sub-committee" would seek to resolve complaints about possible breaches of the code conduct via a public website," according to DIGI, as quoted in the Reuters report. The committee, however, will not deal with complaints involving individual posts. 

The newly-announced adjudication panel has already received criticism. Per the Reuter report, an advocacy group called Reset Australia called the panel "laughable" as it will not issue penalties for any violations. 

DIGI's Voluntary Code

A report by ZDNet also says that DIGI's move to create an independent sub-committee is an expansion of its voluntary code. The sub-committee is also tasked with ensuring that the tech companies that are signatories of the voluntary code will fulfill their obligations. 

Signatories of the voluntary code are Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Adobe, TikTok, and Redbubble. 

The voluntary code, according to the ZDNet report, was created back in February. The expansion of the voluntary code also means that the tech group will create a complaints portal through which the Australian public can submit their complaints involving a breach in the voluntary code. 

Related Article: Twitter vs. Misinformation: How Twitter Will Handle Social Media Misinformation with Warning Labels

Australian Government Threatens Tougher Laws

The creation of the adjudication panel and the announcement of the complaints portal for citizens comes after the Australian government threatened to impose tougher laws to deal with online misinformation and defamatory posts

According to the Reuters report, the Australian government is "looking at measures to make social media companies more responsible, including forcing legal liability onto the platforms for the content published on them."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was also quoted in the report after labeling social media as "a coward's palace."

This is not the first time that the Australian government has toughened its position against big tech companies. Last year, the government passed a law that required online platforms to pay license fees for content. The law, according to the Reuters report, caused "a temporary Facebook blackout" early this year. 

Also Read: Australian Government Tests Facial Recognition Application to Implement During Quarantine Measures

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Written by Isabella James

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