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Gillard Announces Agreement With Social Networking Sites Over Cyberbullying

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced that the government has reached an agreement with social networking sites over complaint handling, particularly in relation to cyberbullying.

The agreement commits companies such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft to develop robust processes for dealing with complaints and to undertake education and awareness raising activities. Gillard called on Twitter to join the agreement.


Statement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.


Social Networking Sites have agreed to continue promoting user safety as well as undertaking education and awareness raising about antisocial behaviour online under new guidelines announced by the Prime Minister.

The Cooperative Arrangement for Complaints Handling on Social Networking Sites commits companies, such as Facebook, Google (YouTube), Yahoo! and Microsoft, to:

  • Set out clear information about its acceptable use guidelines;
  • Undertake education and awareness raising activities about what behaviour is acceptable and not acceptable online;
  • Have a single point of contact for Government; and
  • Have robust processes in place for reviewing and acting on complaints.

The Protocol is another step in the Government’s ongoing work targeting antisocial behaviour online like cyberbullying.

The Protocol also demonstrates that Social Networking Sites understand that they need to work cooperatively with the Government to meet the expectations of the Australian community when it comes to combating inappropriate conduct online.

It is never acceptable to be harassed or bullied online. The protocol ensures that Social Networking Sites have clear and easy to follow processes so that complaints are handled promptly and in accordance with their abuse policies.

The Government is encouraging other Social Networking Sites to join Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft and sign up to the Protocol; and has commenced discussion with Twitter about doing so. We will continue to work with Social Networking Sites to further develop and enhance the Protocol.

The Acting Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Kim Carr, said that the protocol is another demonstration of the strength of the Government’s Cybersafety Plan.

The Protocol was developed in response to recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety’s June 2011 Interim Report, High-Wire Act: Cyber-Safety and the Young. Its development has benefited from the cooperative work undertaken by the government, industry and non-government organisations, through the Government’s Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety.

The Protocol also complements the government’s popular Easy Guide to Socialising Online which provides information and advice to families about how to safely navigate many popular social networks.

The Protocol is available at:

The Easy Guide to Socialising Online is available at:

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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