NSW Premier Chris Minns puts social media giants ‘on notice’ after Sydney stabbings

NSW Premier Chris Minns has put social media giants “on notice” after misinformation and graphic content circulated on their pages after two stabbing attacks in Sydney.

Six people were killed during a violent massacre at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday, and two days later a southwest Sydney church service was interrupted by a knife attack.

Within minutes of the first attack, graphic images of bodies lying in pools of blood and police trying to resuscitate the injured were shared online.

The second attack in Wakeley was livestreamed out to thousands.

A violent riot erupted in the street after the stabbing, with the traumatised community reacting to malicious information shared online.

Mr Minns said social media platforms should be held accountable for the circulation of their content and he would support any move to deliver tougher penalties for their failure to moderate violent content.

“If we can prevent or put social media firms on notice that there’ll be consequences if you don’t take an active management of what’s happening on your own websites, it’d be good for the state,” Minns said.

Earlier on Thursday, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said she would consider tougher penalties for social media platforms and Mr Minns said he would welcome the move.

“Malicious information about damage to mosques and churches was being spread like wildfire and inflaming tensions in the community,” Mr Minns said.

“I’m still concerned about graphic violent imagery being available on public domain websites 48 hours after the incident had occurred.”

He said it was “dangerous” to have this content circulating online for children to stumble across while using phones in their bedrooms.

Mr Minns said it was difficult to contain the violent riots that took place after the Wakeley attack because of misinformation spread online.

“It’s almost impossible at one o’clock in the morning when police are attempting to protect religious venues or other parts of the state that are potentially under threat of attack or vandalism because somebody in a malicious attempt to sow division in our community has posted an irresponsible message on social media,” he said.

He said images of the Wakeley stabbing were still available on social media more than 48 hours after the incident.

“It’s pretty hard to defend it considering 48 hours after the offence and it’s still up,” he said.

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