When we're scrolling online, most of us give little thought to what's happening behind the scenes — who is making decisions about the cont

Australia's changing how it regulates the internet — and no-one's paying attention

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2022-09-21 08:30:24

When we're scrolling online, most of us give little thought to what's happening behind the scenes — who is making decisions about the content we can or cannot see.

Often this decision is in corporate hands: Facebook, TikTok and most major social media platforms have rules about what material they accept, but enforcement can be inconsistent and less than transparent.

In recent years, the federal government has also passed a suite of often controversial legislation allowing it more control over what's online.

Among other powers, it requires the technology industry — which includes not just social media, but messaging services like SMS, internet service providers and even the company behind your modem — to develop new codes that will regulate "harmful online content".

Drafted by industry groups, these codes will have a lot of say about how our technology is governed, but some are concerned they may have unintended consequences, not least because they borrow from an out-of-date classification scheme.

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