Informer: Social media giants taken to task

 Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Another day, another chance for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to continue his crusade against the world's tech giants.

After promising to expose online "bots, bigots and trolls" through new legislation, the PM has announced another inquiry into popular social media sites, including Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

However, this inquiry will look at the impact these sites can have on people's mental health, as well as what the companies are doing to verify user identities and keep children safe online.

Most of us would have read or heard about the impacts social media can have on mental health.

In fact, a Headspace survey of more than 4000 young people, aged 12 to 25, in 2018 found that social media was the main reason youth mental health was getting worse.

The government's inquiries into these sites come just a few weeks after a Facebook whistleblower revealed that the company had overlooked or ignored problems uncovered by its own researchers.

But tech giants have admitted in the past that stopping things like hate speech is a "constant challenge".

Over the past few months Aussies have bared witness to anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown protests that came to a head when the lives of politicians and their families were threatened.

Now Victorian politicians are calling for an inquiry into the link between far-right extremists and anti-vaccination groups.

"(Far-right extremism) is not just a matter of concern for people who work in this building, it has been a matter of concern for Victoria Police for quite some time," he told reporters today.

"The counterterrorism briefings that I get routinely and regularly from Victoria Police say that element in our community... is a very significant threat."

The Northern Territory's Chief Minister Michael Gunner revealed that he has dealt with threats against his life as the territory battles an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

"I've been told my kid will be put in a grave," he said.

That's not okay.

Anger and frustration are normal, very human emotions - but death threats against kids? Completely unnecessary.

Social media can be a cruel place, but not if we could all just remember to be kind.

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