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Gov creates social media protocol, but Twitter still not signed on

Twitter has not yet signed on to the protocol, but the government said it has “commenced discussions” with the company.

The Prime Minister has announced new guidelines for handling complaints on social media, which the government has dubbed the ‘protocol’ [PDF].

Facebook; Google, which includes YouTube; Yahoo; and Microsoft have all signed on to the Co-operative arrangement for complaints handling on social networking sites document to help stem online bullying.

“Technology and social media offer amazing opportunities to connect, share and communicate, but it also brings with it a need for users to be responsible about how they participate,” Pip Marlow, managing director at Microsoft Australia, said in a statement.

Twitter has not yet signed on, but the government said it has “commenced discussions” with the company, which was recently slated to establish its first office in Australia in Sydney soon.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called on Twitter to "embrace" the guidelines, AAP reported.

By signing onto the guidelines, companies agree to 12 principles, including having a point of contact for government and meeting every six months to discuss “emerging issues” and trends; remove child abuse material; set out ‘acceptable use’ guidelines; educate users on what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour online; and have processes in place for handling complaints.

The guidelines also hold companies responsible for “promptly” handling complaints in accordance with its abuse policies.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has welcomed the protocol, stating it is a positive step to making the online environment safer for children.

The protocol follows on from an interim report by the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety in June 2011.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

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