Australia’s e-safety commission has reminded the big online platforms of their safety obligations. 

The eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has issued Apple, Facebook and WhatsApp's parent company Meta, Microsoft, Snap and Omegle with legal notices about the Australian government’s new basic online safety expectations. 

The government requires the tech firms to use a tool designed to encourage fundamental online safety practices and drive transparency and accountability.

“They will help us lift the hood on what companies are doing - and are not doing - to protect their users from harm,” Ms Inman Grant says. 

“Some of the most harmful material online today involves the sexual exploitation of children and, frighteningly, this activity is no longer confined to hidden corners of the dark web but is prevalent on the mainstream platforms we and our children use every day.”

Companies that do not respond to the notices within 28 days face financial penalties of up to $555,000 a day.

“Child sexual exploitation material that is reported now is just the tip of the iceberg,” Ms Inman Grant says. 

“Online child sexual abuse that isn't being detected and remediated continues to be a huge concern.”

Ms Inman Grant said eSafety has handled more than 61,000 complaints about illegal and restricted content since 2015, the majority of which involved child sexual exploitation material. 

“We have seen a surge in reports about this horrific material since the start of the pandemic, as technology was weaponised to abuse children,” she said. 

“The harm experienced by victim-survivors is perpetuated when platforms and services fail to detect and remove the content.”

More details are accessible here.