What are the Legal Responsibilities of Social Media Platforms?

What is the problem?

  • Laws about social media can’t keep up with technology.  There are no laws about social media usage.

Some social media problems are:

  • Cyber bullying
  • Inappropriate posting 10 problem-solving interview questions to find top talent

How does this problem affect people?

  • Ruins the reputation of the people who post inappropriate photos 
  • Cyber bullying can be detrimental on children’s mental health and well-being
  • Challenging on users self-esteem sometimes 

Why does this problem need to be fixed?

This problem needs to be fixed to keep social media users safe and help them to enjoy using the platforms. 

What needs to be changed?

The way the government and laws cooperate and keep up with social media and new technology.

Explanation of the problem in our own words:

The problem in this situation is that the government cant keep up with new developing technology that is being made and they don’t have enough laws around new devices and software, the government also doesn’t have enough laws around social media platforms either as they are still new and being developed to keep users safe. 

 

Terms and conditions of Instagram: 

  •   You may not post nude, partially nude or sexually suggestive photos 
  • You are responsible for any activity that occurs under your screen name 
  • You are responsible for keeping your password secure 
  • Must be 13 years or older 

Laws about Social Media: 

  • Australia has a law which punishes social media platforms for not controlling violent/hate posts. 
  • Employees can be fired because of inappropriate posts on social media 

Laws around cyber bullying: 

  • Cyber bullying can be a crime 
  • Using social medias in a menacing, harassing or offensive way 
  • Encouraging suicide  
  • Making threats   

 

Ideas

  • Laws about social media should be a priority and made faster than laws are normally made. 
  • The government can create a department that fact checks posts  
  • More people employed to regulate social media platforms  
  • Criminals and Sex offenders can only have limited accounts which stop them from doing illegal things. 
  • Social media companies to moderate and approve content prior to publication

 

Unrealistic Ideas: 

  • Technology can detect any form of cyber bullying/hate/violence and delete them or report to the government. 
  • Laws about social media posts can be created as soon as a problem arises. 
  • New accounts can be fact checked before they are approved to use 
  • Temporary shutdown of social media platforms if abhorrent or violent videos become viral  
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What is causing the problem?

 

Little Government Regulation:

Social media has grown considerably over the past 20 years with over 3.6 billion users with at least one social media account. This has meant there are not many laws surrounding the use of social media allowing platforms to be used as a tool for criminal activity. In Australia, there are not many laws, especially ones that hold social media creators accountable for actions done on their platforms. When laws are made, they are made after extreme circumstances which won’t have any effect on that instance. For example, on the 15th of March a shooter entered a New Zealand mosque and killed 51 people while livestreaming the whole attack on Facebook. The video was reported and took down 29 minutes after the attack started and 12 minutes after it finished, but not before 4000 people viewed it. Within the first 24 hours of the attack 1.5 million videos were taken down. After this incident Australia passed legislation called the “Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material Act 2019” which allowed them to charge criminal penalties for social media platforms, jail time and financial penalties. Facebook however did not suffer any punishment for the sharing of this video, which could have been prevented with better regulation by governments such as tracking on livestreams and moderators approving content before posting. Facebook also could have temporarily shut down their platforms while trying to find videos of the attack and deleting those accounts that tried to or did post it.

Less User Responsibility:

Facebook says in their terms of use they cannot guarantee that Facebook is safe or secure, but why should they not try. Instead, they set a long list of terms that users need to follow to prevent Facebook from being sued. Legal responsibility should be shared between both users and creators. Most users will do the right thing by following terms of use and using social media platforms in a responsible way, but it is impossible to expect everyone to do the same. Social media is exploited by thousands of criminals every day and used in an unprecedented way as a tool to promote an act of terrorism and hate, yet responsibility is placed on users to stop it from happening. How some individuals use social media is up to them, but it is up to social media platforms to make sure those who use it correctly are safe from criminals.

 

Why do we need to solve it?

 

Protect people from becoming victim to criminal activity:

With social media being used by over 3.6 billion people worldwide it is used as a powerful tool to connect with others, as well as expressing yourself. As much as it can be used for good, there are people who take advantage of social media, and exploit it as a way to cyberbully, hack, commit scams and fraud, purchase illegal products and post criminal activity. Many people who use social media correctly can become victim to crime without realising. There have been too many accounts of scammers stealing money from vulnerable people. It is hard for people to spot the difference from a scammer to something genuine, so it should be the social media’s platforms responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen.

 

Use social media as a safe place rather than a criminal tool:

Social media should be a place where people can connect with others halfway around the globe, express themselves without hate and discover new things with ease. It should not be a place where terrorist propaganda or cyberbullying happens. It’s unfair to those people who use social media correctly to have to be careful about what they scroll onto. It is also awful if a teenager stumbles across a mass shooting video because it went viral since a social media platform could not stop the spread. It is important that social media platforms take legal responsibility so that these things do not happen.