The Australian Federal Government has introduced a new bill that would give them the power to financially ruin anyone for posting content online that’s deemed “offensive.”
The Online Safety Bill will make it illegal to post “seriously harmful content” to the internet, including comments or social media posts that “menace, harass or offend” other people.
The government’s eSafety Commissioner would also be granted the powers to force social media companies to remove content and disclose the private and personal details of offenders who may not be otherwise identifiable.
Companies that do not comply will face civil penalties of up to $550,000.
Those found guilty of breaking the proposed law will be forced to apologise to the offended and could also face fines of up to $110,000.
The legislation would also allow the government to block access to certain content during “crisis events,” such as the Christchurch mosque attack video.
Federal Minister for Communications and Cyber Safety, Paul Fletcher said the government is aiming to legislate the bill in the new year.
“Australians need to be safe online as they are offline,” he said. “We’re seeking comment now on this law and we hope to legislate it next year.”