X expelled from Australia’s anti-misinformation code over non-compliance

This comes after X’s failure to address a complaint about removing a feature for reporting misinformation.

Australia flag is depicted on the screen with the program code

Australia’s Digital Industry Group (Digi) has ousted X from the country’s voluntary misinformation and disinformation code. The expulsion follows X’s failure to address a complaint by Reset Australia regarding the removal of a feature enabling users to report misinformation.

The voluntary code, initiated by the Morrison government, requires tech companies to provide reporting tools and address dis/misinformation annually.

Despite scheduled discussions, X withdrew, citing illness, and neglected to submit documents in its defense or respond to inquiries. The Digi deemed X’s non-engagement a ‘serious breach,’ resulting in removing its signatory status. X has not provided a comment on its removal from the code.

Why does it matter?

The incident raises questions about the efficacy of voluntary codes, with advocates highlighting their flaws and urging for legislative measures akin to the EU’s Digital Services Act. Australia’s delay in legislation empowering penalties for misinformation policy breaches has drawn criticism from legal experts, human rights groups, and political campaigns. Given Elon Musk’s withdrawal of X from Europe’s voluntary code in May, followed by his commitment to adhere to the Digital Service Act rules in June—jeopardizing X with potential fines or an EU ban for non-compliance—a parallel situation could unfold in Australia.