© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Facebook's new rebranding logo Meta is displayed behind a smartphone with the Facebook logo in this illustration image from October 28, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo
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By Colin Packham
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Wednesday announce a parliamentary inquiry into the behavior of the world's largest tech companies and the need for new legislation. Australia has made global efforts to curtail the power of Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 and Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 and enact laws that serve as role models for others.
To increase the possibility of additional regulation, Morrison will say on Wednesday that the new investigation will be broad in scope, but it will also ask the committee's lawmakers to look into the algorithms used by the social media platforms, such as the companies Check the identification and age and to what extent which restrictions are enforced.
"Big Tech has big questions to answer," Morrison will say, according to excerpts from his planned announcement, which Reuters has seen. "Big Tech created these platforms, they are responsible for ensuring that they are secure."
The announcement of a new investigation is likely to fuel tension between the Australian government and Facebook, which recently changed its name to Meta, and Google. Earlier this year, Australia rolled out tough new laws causing both tech companies to pay local media outlets for content, while Canberra proposed laws that would force them to share the identities of people with anonymous accounts when someone else is Accused of defamation. When Australia proposed a law forcing both companies to pay local media outlets for news content, Google threatened to shut down its Australian search engine while Facebook removed all third-party content from Australian accounts for more than a week. Both ended up doing business with Australian media companies after a number of legislative changes were proposed.
The committee responsible for the new investigation will report on its results by February 15, 2022.
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