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Australia plans to force social media companies to acquire parental consent for minors on their platforms, legislation shows

Australia plans to make social media companies obtain parental consent for users under the age of 16 and threaten fines of up to A$10 million ($7.5 million) for internet platforms that fail to comply, draft legislation published on Monday shows.

Social media companies, which include anonymous forums like Reddit and smartphone dating apps like Bumble, would also be required to take all reasonable steps to determine users’ ages and prioritize children’s interests when collecting data, the Online Privacy Bill said. The new proposed rules would put Australia among the most stringent countries in terms of age controls for social media,

“We are ensuring [Australians’] data and privacy will be protected and handled with care,” said Attorney-General Michaelia Cash in a statement. “Our draft legislations means that these companies will be punished heavily if they don’t meet that standard,” she added.

Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention David Coleman said the “leak of Facebook’s own internal research demonstrates the impact social media platforms can have on body image and the mental health of young people.”

Facebook’s director of public policy in Australia and New Zealand, Mia Garlick, said in a statement that the company was reviewing the proposed law and understood “the importance of ensuring Australia’s privacy laws evolve at a comparable pace to the rate of innovation and new technology we’re experiencing today”.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: PEW RESEARCH

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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