Senate committee wants foreign interference social media reporting rules by next Australian election

An Australian Senate Committee at the end of last year recommended that a government entity be specifically delegated with the responsibility of keeping social media platforms and other government entities accountable in preventing cyber-enabled foreign interference.

In an interim report [PDF], the Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media said it made this recommendation as there is currently not a single body dedicated to performing this accountability function. The committee said the need for such an entity would continue to grow in importance as the use of cyber-enabled techniques to interfere in foreign elections and referendums has increased significantly in recent years.

In making this finding, the committee considered submissions that said current trends indicated espionage and foreign interference would supplant terrorism as Australia’s principal security concern over the next five years.

Another factor in making this recommendation was that there is currently no specific body responsible for combatting COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation.

Alarmingly, the committee also wrote in its interim report that the Department of Home Affairs — the supposed policy lead for addressing foreign interference on social media — testified it was not aware which platforms were supposed to report foreign interference attempts.

Social media companies also told

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