A cyber regulator in Australia demanded on Thursday that Twitter explain how it handles online hate. The microblog is now the most complained about platform in the country since Elon Musk, the new owner of the site, lifted the bans from 62,000 accounts.
The demand is a result of a campaign launched by the eSafety commissioner to hold the website accountable. Musk, one the richest men in the world, purchased the site for $44 billion last October, promising to restore the commitment to freedom of speech.
The regulator has already asked Twitter to provide details of its handling of child abuse material on Twitter, which it says has increased since Musk's takeover.
Julie Inman Grant, the commissioner of police in New York City, said that she sent a legal letter to Twitter asking for an explanation. One-third all complaints about online hatred she received concerned Twitter despite its far lower user base than TikTok and Meta's Facebook or Instagram.
Inman Grant, a spokesperson for Twitter, said that the company had "apparently dropped the ball" on combating hate. The statement noted that 62,000 accounts were reinstated since Musk took over the platform, including some high-profile accounts belonging to individuals who advocate Nazi rhetoric.
She said: 'We want accountability and action from these platforms to protect their users. You cannot have accountability and transparency without legal notices such as this one.
Twitter must reply to the eSafety commissioner within 28 days, or else face an fine of almost A$700,000.00 ($473,480.00) per day. When contacted by Reuters, it declined to comment.
This demand comes at a time when Australia is preparing for a referendum on whether or not to include Indigenous peoples in its constitution. The debate over race has become increasingly heated.
The commissioner pointed out that prominent indigenous television host Stan Grant cited Twitter abuse when he announced his break from media last month.
In a tweet sent last month, National Indigenous Television, a specialist broadcaster, said that it would also be taking a break due to the 'racism and hatred' on Twitter.
Inman Grant's letter demanded that Twitter explain how they conducted impact assessments before reinstating banned accounts. She also asked how Twitter engaged with the communities affected by online hate and enforced its own policies banning hateful behavior.