The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (AMAN), known for its landmark legal win against former Senator Fraser Anning, has lodged a religious vilification and discrimination complaint against Twitter.
The action is being lodged against Twitter’s global and Australian companies in the Queensland Human Rights Commission.
The action alleges that Twitter is liable as a publisher for vilifying third-party content following the landmark HCA Voller decision involving Meta and the recent Barilaro decision involving Google.
There are 419 hate artifacts in total, including 29 tweets inciting hatred and 390 comments and quotes on those tweets, all published by Twitter.
AMAN also alleges direct and indirect discrimination by Twitter.
Twitter directly discriminates by allowing accounts to vilify Muslims even where there is extensive evidence in the comment threads of the effects.
Twitter indirectly discriminates by failing to apply Australian standards of vilification, including Queensland law, which bans public acts that incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule of a group based on a protected characteristic. This is a term that Australian Muslims cannot comply with without suffering discriminatory harm.
Disinformation portraying groups as subhuman or inhuman based on their religion or race has the effect of inciting hatred and therefore violates Australian standards.
The action follows two years of work by AMAN, beginning with a year of direct engagement with Twitter.
In 2021, AMAN successfully sought orders to remove 141 hate artifacts by former Senator Fraser Anning. Twitter published 55 of those artifacts but refused to take them down until after AMAN’s legal win.
AMAN also has a race discrimination and section 18C complaint on foot through the Australian Human Rights Commission against Meta, proceeding despite Meta’s efforts.
These actions are the only avenue the community has, but they come at a tremendous cost to the community and human rights bodies.
The Federal Government can change this by penalising platforms that don’t meet Australian legal standards.
The Federal Government must bring unlawful vilification within the scope of the Online Safety Act. During a Parliamentary Inquiry into Social Media and Online Safety earlier this year, Labor Senators called for this reform.