Big tech companies like X Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are making it harder to stamp out misinformation and child exploitation materials on their platforms, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.
(Bloomberg) — Big tech companies like X Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are making it harder to stamp out misinformation and child exploitation materials on their platforms, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.
The online safety regulator on Monday issued Google an official warning and X, formerly known as Twitter Inc., a A$610,500 ($386,200) fine for failing to respond to questions about how they detect, remove and prevent child sexual abuse material and grooming.
“If you can build a sophisticated AI system and target advertising with deadly precision, you should be able to do the same with hate speech” or child sexual abuse material, Inman Grant said, on a panel at South by South West (SXSW) festival in Sydney Monday. “But instead, what we’re seeing is the companies are making it harder and making their platforms more opaque.”
The regulator in February asked X, TikTok, Google, Discord and Twitch what steps they were taking to tackle crimes against children playing out on their services.
Google was issued a warning for providing generic responses to specific questions, the regulator said in a statement. X’s non-compliance was “more serious,” it said. The social media giant left blank some responses to questions about detecting and responding to reports of child exploitation material, while providing incomplete and inaccurate responses to others.
“Protecting children on our platforms is the most important work we do,” said Google’s Lucinda Longcroft, Director Government Affairs and Public Policy for Australia and New Zealand, in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to these efforts and collaborating constructively and in good faith with the eSafety Commissioner, government and industry on the shared goal of keeping Australians safer online.”
X did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Elsewhere, regulators in the EU are also cracking down on tech companies to stop the spread of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Google has recently faced scrutiny for disseminating misinformation to Russian audiences on a popular Android service about the invasion on Ukraine. Meanwhile, researchers say posts on X about Hamas’ recent attack in Israel have led to confusion, misinformation and conflict.
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