‘Tough’ on ‘fake news’ but ‘too tough’ on trolls

The Australian Financial Council has called on the Federal Government to impose tougher penalties on internet trolls.

The body has recommended a number of measures to help police the internet and make it harder for trolls to get a foothold on social media platforms.

Among them is making it illegal to deliberately post or repost information to create a false impression or to “engage in a pattern of conduct that is likely to create an unlawful or disproportionate risk of harm”.

It also recommends the Federal Court should be empowered to grant a court order to force an internet service provider to take action against a user who is found to be making a false or misleading statement or posting false content on social networks.

The FCA said its recommendation for tougher penalties would help police internet trolls by helping them identify and target individuals who are causing harm.

“The FCA recommends the following actions be taken to protect the community from internet trolls,” the report says.


A penalty of $20,000 is proposed to be introduced for each of the types of conduct in this report and/or section 14 of the Crimes Act 1914.

The proposed penalty will apply to a range of conduct, including posting, sharing, reposting or creating false information, using a false email address, using false information to obtain goods or services or engaging in behaviour that is clearly unlawful or unfair.”


A $500,000 fine would be imposed for each type of conduct and/ or section 14(1)(b) of the Crime Act 1914.”


A new offence of engaging in conduct that breaches section 18 of the Communications Act 1900 would be introduced.”

The FCTC report comes as the Federal Parliament is expected to pass a major cybercrime bill on Thursday.

The bill will give the Government the power to enact laws to crack down on online “fake news” and “fake political content”.

In addition to requiring companies to remove information from their platforms, the legislation also aims to force internet providers to block the access of websites that contain false or offensive content.

The Federal Government’s bill also includes a new offence to protect individuals from the online harassment of a person or group of people.

The new offence would also include criminal penalties for the “incitement of harassment”.

The FCO has been calling for tougher cybercrime legislation since the end of 2016.

“As we have said before, it is clear that we need to address cybercrime,” said Ms Taylor.

The Federal Parliamentary Library is providing the FCA with an opportunity to respond to the FCTB’s report by 5pm AEST on Thursday, January 19. “

And the FCO is urging the Government to support measures that address this important problem.”

The Federal Parliamentary Library is providing the FCA with an opportunity to respond to the FCTB’s report by 5pm AEST on Thursday, January 19.

For more information on the FCS and the FACC, visit: www.fco.gov.au