The Greens welcome the Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media’s recommendations for a minimum set of enforceable transparency requirements for social media companies, but remain concerned about plans to target specific platforms and the lack of action on data minimisation.
The Greens do not support platform specific reforms and call for an urgent platform-neutral approach to policy which tackles the core of the issue and protects Australians.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens Communications Spokesperson, said:
“Protecting Australians from foreign interference on social media is about protecting our democracy from whoever may seek to influence our political discourse and elections, whether it be other state actors or billionaires who build social media platforms to be their own personal empires.
“We cannot tackle this one platform at a time, we need a holistic platform neutral approach to holding the big tech companies to account, no matter who owns them.
“We welcome the call for enforceable transparency requirements, we are willing to work with the Government to ensure these requirements adequately protect Australians from foreign interference through social media.
Senator David Shoebridge, Greens Digital Rights Spokesperson, said:
“It’s all good to talk of transparency but what’s missing from these recommendations is a plan to minimise data retention to protect the sensitive data of users and their digital rights.
“Banning TikTok or any other platform from government devices is nothing but a game of digital whack-a-mole and does nothing to protect the good majority of Australians who do not have government devices.
“This report is one piece of the puzzle and the upcoming privacy reforms need to deliver the next pieces on data protection.
“The major parties need to stop playing politics with this very serious issue.
“We know that Home Affairs has completed a review of Foreign Interference via Social Media Applications but they are refusing to make their findings public.
“Yes it’s time to act on transparency and that can start with the Government releasing its secret report,” Senator Shoebridge said.