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AFL stars Adam Goodes and Tayla Harris invited to speak at new social media inquiry

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Women’s footy star abused for her famous photo and AFL legend Adam Goodes are among troll victims invited to talk about their tribulations as PM launches social media crackdown

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce investigation into social media sites
  • It will examine how they work and whether they need to do more to stop damage
  • Goodes and Harris are among the stars the government will approach to participate
  • The investigation will start in December and will deliver a final report on February 20










AFL stars Adam Goodes and Tayla Harris will be invited to share their experience of online abuse during an investigation into social media companies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is on a crusade against Big Tech, will announce a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday into online damage caused by social media.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok will all be targets of the investigation, with a particular focus on child safety.

The inquiry will be similar to previous hearings in the US and Britain, examining how social media companies operate and whether they should do more to stamp out racism, sexism, bullying and hate speech.

Daily Mail Australia understands Goodes and Harris are on a list of stars the government will approach to see if they would like to provide evidence.

AFLW player Tayla Harris made headlines in March 2019 when this photo of her kicking a goal drew hundreds of vile comments

Harris suffered horrific sexist abuse online in March 2019 when a photo of her kicking a goal drew hundreds of vicious comments.

‘Some of the comments made me physically sick. They are as disgusting as your wildest imagination,” she told the 7.30am report last year.

Goodes suffered “horrific” racial abuse online after he retired from AFL in 2015, after two years of booing from fans for his outspokenness on racial issues.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will also be invited to participate.

Adam Goodes and wife Natalie pictured in 2019

Adam Goodes and wife Natalie pictured in 2019

In a US hearing in October, the former Facebook employee alleged that the social media giant has fueled the division, harmed children and urgently needed regulation.

“I believe Facebook’s products harm children, divide and weaken our democracy,” Ms Haugen told a US Senate panel.

In her testimony, Ms Haugen said there was a risk that Facebook’s platforms would fuel an eating disorder contagion, body shaming and self-discomfort, which is especially dangerous for young people.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post for his account that her claim that the company prioritized profit over safety was “simply not true.”

In a 2018 headspace survey of more than 4,000 young people aged 12 to 25, social media was nominated as the number one reason young people’s mental health was declining.

Morrison said: “Moms and dads are rightly concerned about whether Big Tech is doing enough to keep their kids safe online.

“Big Tech created these platforms, they have a responsibility to make sure their users are safe.”

He said the government “wants to hear from parents, teachers, athletes, small businesses and more about their experiences and what needs to change.”

The Prime Minister’s Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said: ‘We cannot rely on social media companies to act in the best interests of children, so we are going to force them.’

The investigation will start in December and will deliver a final report on February 20.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen (pictured) will also be invited to participate

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen (pictured) will also be invited to participate

Mr Morrison (pictured Tuesday) is crusading against Big Tech and social media platforms

Mr Morrison (pictured Tuesday) is crusading against Big Tech and social media platforms

Morrison, who passed laws last year to make Google and Facebook pay media companies for the use of their news stories, will also introduce proposed laws on Wednesday to allow social media companies to “expose” anonymous trolls.

Under planned legislation, social media companies would be responsible for defamatory content themselves unless they hand over a user’s identity to the alleged victim of the trolling.

The move requires social media companies to verify the legal names of every user in Australia.

What will the research look at?

A. the range of online harm Australians may face on social media and other online platforms, including harmful content or conduct;

B. proof of:

l. the potential impact of online harm on Australians’ mental health and well-being;

ii. the extent to which algorithms used by social media platforms allow, increase or decrease online harm to Australians;

iii. existing identity verification and age assurance policies and practices and the extent to which they are enforced;

C. the effectiveness, application and impact of industry measures, including security features, controls, safeguards and settings, to keep Australians, especially children, safe online;

NS. the effectiveness and impact of industry action to give parents the tools they need to make meaningful decisions to keep their children safe online;

e. the transparency and accountability required of social media platforms and online technology companies with regard to online harm experienced by their Australian users;

F. the collection and use of relevant data by the industry in a safe, personal and secure manner;

G. actions taken by the government to keep Australians safe online; and

H. consider another related issue.

Source: Notice of motion by Minister of Communications Paul Fletcher

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