With social media in Australia being taken down by government-mandated social media rules, it’s not uncommon to find people on social media being hunted by police.
In recent months, social media has become a popular target for Australian police and other government agencies to use to crack down on “social harm” and “terrorist” activity.
Social media platforms have been accused of being a breeding ground for terrorists and criminals, and the government is reportedly working to crackdown on the use of the platform by foreign governments and “counter-terrorism” organisations.
In a report published last year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) found that more than 70% of Australian social media users in 2018 were using social media to commit “terror offences”.
This is despite a crackdown on social networking sites in 2018 that saw the removal of nearly half of all social media accounts in Australia, with only six percent of accounts deleted.
The ABC also found that over half of the Australians interviewed believed that social media was a “safe haven” for terrorists, and “a forum for inciting violence”.
The Australian government has since implemented a series of new laws aimed at fighting “terrorism”, including the removal and banning of a number of social media platforms.
The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a leading human rights watchdog in Australia has warned that the government has been making it harder for Australians to report terrorism.
The Abbott government has introduced several laws aimed specifically at stopping Australians from reporting online terrorism, with a proposed ban on “unwanted” content, as well as online copyright infringement, internet search terms and data retention laws.
But these measures have come at a price.
Many Australians are already fearful that social networks and social media will become a safe haven for violent extremists, with many of the most popular sites, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, being used by “terrorist” groups.
According to the AHRC, a report by a law professor, there are around 100,000 Australian social networking accounts, with up to 50,000 of them potentially linked to “extremist” organisations and “extraditionists”.
“The social media giants have already shown their hand by introducing draconian new laws and regulations to stifle the freedom of expression on social networks,” the AHSC said.
“Social media is the last frontier for online radicalisation and is a crucial hub for the recruitment of foreign fighters and others who have committed atrocities abroad.
The government has failed to provide a coherent, comprehensive response to the threats posed by the internet, and to the challenge of radicalisation online.
We must not be lulled into complacency by this weak and ineffective response.”