Australia hopes its new legislation that undermine prison and major fines for social media executives who fail to remove violent livestreaming will become a model for other countries.

The government has described its reaction to the March 15 gun massacre at legislating the behaviour of networking and internet platforms, in which 50 Muslims were allegedly murdered by an Australian in New Zealand because of world-first.

Critics argue that social networking giants can pull out of Australia if other nations don’t adopt similar legislation. There are also worries that the law avoid whistleblowers from exposing atrocities and could result in media censorship.

Here’s a look at the problems it expects to overcome and the laws:



A white supremacist employed a helmet-mounted camera broadcast live on Facebook as he took worshippers. Facebook livestreamed the massacre without disruption for 17 minutes before responding. Facebook said it eliminated 1.5 million videos of their shootings during the initial 24 hours afterward. The government argues that media companies need to do much more to exclude content that is these. The sharing of this movie between users who followed the livestreaming is not covered by the law.



Web service providers and providers of hosting services or content have perpetrated a crime if they don’t eliminate”abhorrent violent substance expeditiously.” The material has to be accessible from Australia. “Abhorrent violent substance” is defined as acts of murder, terrorism, attempted murder, rape, torture and kidnapping. The substance must he recorded to the law by the perpetrator of the crime or an accomplice to apply.

The definition of sports like medical processes boxing and sexual acts which are violent but consensual. The substance could be solely sound audio-visual, or solely visual. It recorded or may be livestreamed and may include pictures taken from movie. “Expeditiously” is not defined. That would be decided by a jury. The crime will be punishable by three years in prison and a 2.1 million Australian dollar ($1.5 million) fine for a person. Businesses can be fined AU$10.5 million ($7.5 million) or 10% of the system’s yearly turnover, whichever amount is larger.


There are valid defenses in which the content relates to an information report that is in a court proceeding, the public interest, research or an artistic task. The attorney general has the discretion to prevent prosecutions considered unsuitable. The government asserts standard media’s operations will probably not be effected.