Image: Getty Images
Australia’s plan to force social media users to identify themselves could damage people, harm international relations, and even breach human rights obligations, according to participants in a media roundtable on Friday.
The Morrison government’s recent rush to identify users is based on the assumption that this would reduce online abuse. But according to Kara Hinesley, Twitter’s public policy director for Australia and New Zealand, there are few reasons to think it would work.
“The concerns around anonymity in this current debate have been over-simplified, and system design changes cannot solve social problems without actual social change,” Hinesley said.
“It’s not clear that anonymity is the primary driver of abusive and antisocial behaviour online. It’s even less clear that requiring government identification for social media would do anything to fix the situation.
“I want to emphasise — I cannot emphasise this enough — a tech solution cannot fix the social problem.”
Twitter organised the roundtable in conjunction with Digital Rights Watch, whose executive director, Lucie Krahulcova, was even more critical.
Krahulcova is “incredibly frustrated” by this question of pursuing people when they’re anonymous online. It’s been her “extensive experience” that law enforcement isn’t particularly interested in pursuing