News Corp’s Michael Miller says Meta, X, TikTok should operate under Social License, or face being booted

Speaking at the National Press Club, News Corp Australia chief executive Michael Miller called on the government to pass tougher laws to control social media giants, with penalties that would bar them from operating in Australia if they are not followed.

In Canberra on Wednesday, he said companies such as TikTok, X and Meta, which own Facebook and Instagram, had for too long been allowed to offer online violence, harassment and bullying on their platforms without consequence.

Instead, the technological monopolies proposed by Mr. Miller, to force a “social license,” described as a “package of laws and requirements” that would make them responsible for content that is “disseminated, curated and controlled by their algorithms.”

“Because bad behavior on social media is good for business,” he said in the address.

“Social media giants profit from mean videos, they profit from bullying, they profit from online scammers, they profit from celebrating eating disorders.”

The social media giants would also have to contribute to money spent on “addressing mental health issues” and create an “effective consumer complaints system” that uses Australian-based call centers and comply with an anti-competitive framework set out by Competition Australia and Consumer Affairs Commission (ACCC).

Mr. Miller also asked companies to once again respect the code of media negotiations.

Earlier this year, Meta sensationally announced that they would not be renewing their agreement, which meant that they would no longer compensate news publishers and that they would be removing the news tab on Facebook.

Companies and executives who break the laws should also be liable for criminal sanctions, with the government having the ultimate power to expel them from Australia, Mr Miller argued.

“In my opinion, mining companies are also technological monopolies. They are not mining our minerals, they are mining our lives,” he said.

“These lives are Australia’s greatest resource and we have a responsibility to protect ourselves and the way we want to live.”

Mr Miller argued that the Australian government also had a responsibility to limit the harmful reach of social media giants and that laws similar to those he proposed existed in other sectors such as banking, business, advertising and the media.

“On behalf of 27 million Australians, the Australian Government has the mandate and opportunity to re-establish and re-assert itself as the representative and rule-maker of Australia – by

resetting the rules for global platforms to access Australians,” he said.

“It’s time for them to play by our rules.”

If tech monopolies don’t sign or honor the social licence, Mr Miller said it’s “not the end of the world” if they leave.

“We all know that innovation occurs in the digital space,” he said.

“And the tech monopolies know how quickly the void would be filled.”

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland insisted there was a need for more transparency and accountability in the social media sector.

The government will soon set up a major joint parliamentary committee on the effects of social media and its impact on the mental health of users and its role in the spread of disinformation and explicit, extremist and illegal content.

More to come.

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