The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) welcomed moves by a group of tech companies to combat misinformation on digital platforms, with the agency noting the steps increase accountability.

To strengthen the country’s disinformation code of practice, the Digital Industry Group (DIGI), which includes Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter, today (11 October) introduced an independent oversight and public complaints facility on its website, and appointed a committee to oversee potential breaches.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin stated the moves will help member companies comply with the code.

She explained digital platforms must take responsibility for what is on their sites and take action for harmful or misleading content. “They have committed to this voluntary code, and now is the time to make good on their word and address community concerns.”

O’Loughlin stated a “responsive complaints-handling system with robust governance” is a critical component of an effective self-regulatory regime, but noted “we do have concerns that complaints about non-compliance with opt-in commitments will be treated differently to those about mandatory commitments”.

ACMA will monitor the actions of the digital platforms to determine whether the new moves result in a meaningful reduction in harmful misinformation and disinformation, she said.

DIGI prepared the code of practice in February, committing to reducing the risk of online misinformation in response to the government asking the digital industry to develop a voluntary code on disinformation.