Australian authorities urge social media companies to do more on fighting extremism

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Australia’s top-ranking intelligence official and police officer have accused social media companies of fuelling misinformation and extremism.

Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Mike Burgess and Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Reece Kershaw on Wednesday urged social media companies to do more to crack down on extremism and track criminals.

In a joint speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, they said technology is not above the rule of law and warned that artificial intelligence will make radicalization easier and faster.

Kershaw said that Australians on the open and dark web are being exposed to extremist poison that social media companies are refusing to snuff out.

“Instead of putting out the embers that start on their platforms, their indifference and defiance is pouring accelerant on the flames.”

Their speech comes as the federal government is engaged in a dispute with X, formerly known as Twitter, over footage of a stabbing at a Sydney church earlier in April that the AFP labeled an act of terrorism.

The Federal Court of Australia on Monday issued X with a two-day injunction to remove the footage for all users globally after the platform initially responded to an order to do so from the eSafety Commissioner by blocking the content for Australian users only.

The commissioner in March warned social media companies that they will face fines worth tens of millions of dollars if they fail to remove terrorist, violent extremism and child abuse content.

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