Meta, Microsoft And Apple In Hot Water As Regulator Issues Legal Letters And Threaten Fines Over Lack Of Anti-Abuse Disclosure

A regulator based in Australia has had enough of tech giants failing to respond to the growing and alarming crisis linked to online child abuse.

Now, it’s demanding top firms like Apple, Microsoft, and Meta share their strategies linked to combating child abuse. And if not, the regulator has even threatened some major fines.

The action has been taken by the e-Safety Commissioner. This is an Australian body whose been designed for one purpose only and that’s related to protecting all users online. This is the same group that began making a lot of noise on the issue in January of this year.

It claims to have put several laws into effect so that various technology partners could make their measures public on how they were detecting and ridding online abuse. These tech giants were given a one-month period to reply and if they failed to comply, well, they would now be faced with a mega fine worth $383,000 each day.

This threat was seen undermining the main hardcore approach used to regulate such huge firms operating in Australia since the year 2021.

The government and respective bodies have even paid tech firms to motivate them to share their practices of combating abusive material online. This includes giving detail related to anonymous accounts from where defamatory material arose.

So many digital companies around the globe have been under a lot of pressure to find ways to regulate and monitor streaming services and messages that are encrypted for security purposes. The challenges, as you can see are plenty, but someone needed to do it.

There was also a fine line between going overboard and encroaching privacy of users in this aspect as well.

At the moment, this form of activity is no longer linked to hidden parts of the dark web. It’s more or less being seen as a common arising taking place on different mainstream platforms online. And so many kids are exposed to it each day.

And with passing time, more and more firms are moving towards encrypted messaging and deploying features such as live streaming. See, the greatest fear in this regard has to do with having such content spread unchecked across different popular apps.

Microsoft has confirmed the news about being given a letter and will respond accordingly within the 28-day period outlined. The same goes with Meta who says they’ll be analyzing the letter carefully and providing a response soon. But Apple is yet to respond to the letter or give out any comments about the matter.

A lot of figures were quoted by the Australian regulator and this data was said to have been taken from reports provided through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Kids in the US.

This year, the center highlighted how it managed to get 29 million reports pertaining to child abuse through internet firms. While 22 million of the complaints arose from Meta’s Facebook, only about 160 came from Apple.

H/T: Reuters

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