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Digital platforms complaints process a positive step

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI) of additional accountability measures for digital platforms in Australia.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said DIGI has taken an important step by launching the public complaints portal, which will support digital platforms’ compliance with the Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation.

“Australians are deeply concerned about disinformation and misinformation, and in particular the spread of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation online,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Digital platforms must take responsibility for what is on their sites and take action when harmful or misleading content appears. They have committed to this voluntary code and now is the time to make good on their word and address community concerns.”

DIGI has also appointed an independent complaints committee to oversee potential breaches of the code.

“A responsive complaints-handling system with robust governance is a critical component of an effective self-regulatory regime, particularly in the online environment,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“However, we do have concerns that complaints about non-compliance with opt-in commitments will be treated differently to those about mandatory commitments. We will be watching how this works in practice and whether expanding the committee’s remit will be necessary.

“If you have concerns about content that you see on digital platforms, you should complain to the relevant platform in the first instance. If you don’t think a platform is complying with the actions it has signed up to under the code, you can complain via the new DIGI portal.”

The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation is a self-regulatory industry code released in February 2021 to provide safeguards against the spread of online misinformation and disinformation.

The ACMA provided guidance to industry on the development of the code and reports to Government on its application.

“We will continue to monitor the actions of the digital platforms and whether they result in meaningful reduction in harmful misinformation and disinformation,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

The code complaints portal can be accessed on the DIGI website: https://digi.org.au/disinformation-code/.

MR 27/2021

For more information, please contact ACMA Media on 0438 375 776 or media@acma.gov.au.

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