Barely a day after being banished from Facebook, Australian MP Craig Kelly has acted swiftly to propose a new Bill that will seek to rein in the power of Big Tech companies like Facebook.
The Independent Member for Hughes is basing the Bill on a similar law passed overnight in Florida that will penalise social media companies if they remove political candidates from their platform, a practice also known as de-platforming.
According to the Florida law, tech giants like Google, Facebook, or Twitter face fines of around $100,000 per day for each day a state-wide candidate is banned from their platform, and $10,000 fines for other candidates.
“The market power of the foreign controlled tech-giants and their ability to censor political speech is an immediate and direct threat to our democracy,” Kelly told The Epoch Times.
“We have seen in Australia Facebook acting as a media thug and bully, who believes they are above the law and are arbiters of truth. Governor De Santis of Florida has acted to hold these social-media giants to account.”
Kelly was de-platformed by Facebook on Monday for posting content on research proposing alternative treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
A Facebook spokesperson said, “We don’t allow anyone, including elected officials, to share misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.”
But Kelly denied that he shared “misinformation” saying his posts contained actual research by medical professionals and experts.
“I’m quoting a doctor or a medical specialist that has a different opinion from another doctor or medical specialist. That doesn’t make it misinformation, that makes it an alternative opinion,” he said.
“A society where someone that has an alternative opinion to you is (accused of) spreading misinformation is a fascist, totalitarian society.”
Kelly is hoping to receive the support of another member of Parliament so he can formally introduce the Bill to the floor during its next sitting.
In March, Liberal Senator Alex Antic moved a motion in the Senate to establish a committee for a comprehensive inquiry into the market power of the tech giants in Australia. The vote stalled at 32-32.
Google and Facebook have faced heightened scrutiny in recent months following a drawn-out, acrimonious dispute over Australian laws that would force the tech giants to pay media companies for displaying their content.
In February, Facebook controversially banned news content, and news media companies, from its platform leading up to the passing of the News Media Bargaining Code.
The ban however caused major disruption and public uproar, when it inexplicably suspended the Facebook pages of non-media organisations, including trade unions, charities, the weather bureau, and government health services.
However, following 11th-hour negotiations between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, the ban was repealed, and amendments were secured for the tech giant.
Daniel Khmelev contributed to this report.
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