Australian government politicians are split over what to do about social media platforms and misinformation.
Queensland MPs Matt Canavan and George Christensen have called for oversight and limiting of tech platforms' ability to remove content unless it's illegal, angered over the banning of US President Donald Trump from most platforms after the violent storming of the US Capitol building last week.
Mr Christensen launched a petition for a change in Australian law to "ensure Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms can no longer ban, censor, suspend, 'fact-check' or shadow ban users for posting content which is lawful in Australia.
"Given the power that Big Tech has in providing a platform for public discourse, we consider that failing to act on their censorship would be a danger to democracy!"
What are the chances of new laws constraining tech platform bans?
While others in the government were also concerned, they may not have the numbers to see the kind of action against the tech giants they were hoping for.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Australia has long prided itself on free speech and the democratic right to say what you think, "within, of course, the bounds of decency."
"I'm not in favour of censorship," Mr McCormack told reporters on Monday. "I think if people don't like what they see on Twitter, well don't go onto that social media platform."
The acting Prime Minister questioned why Twitter bans and takedowns were not applied in other instances, such as the Chinese official who tweeted a doctored image of an Australian digger that sparked a diplomatic spat.
He had a message for Twitter: "If you're going to take down Donald Trump's Twitter feed, then think very carefully and closely about also taking down that photo, which should have been taken down weeks ago."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he "personally felt uncomfortable with what they did" but that was a decision for the companies.
Why are social media platforms banning users?
Twitter and Facebook, as two of the most popular platforms, have taken down content or banned users for posting material that calls for violence, could incite others to violence. This content is also illegal in Australia.
Additionally, streamed violence was banned in Australia following the deadly mosque attack in Christchurch.
More controversially, social media platforms have also banned individuals who spread misinformation that could harm others, such as anti-vaccination campaigner and celebrity chef Pete Evans who posted claims that COVID-19 was a hoax.
A Facebook spokesperson said the platform does not allow the sharing of misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or misinformation about vaccines that had been debunked by public health experts.
"We have clear policies against this type of content and we've removed Chef Pete Evans' Facebook page for repeated violations of these policies," Facebook said in a statement last month.
Another government MP, Craig Kelly was warned by Facebook this week over posting unproven COVID-19 treatment claims. He has taken down the posts, "under protest" he says, and attacked the platform by censoring his views.
Pauline Hanson received a temporary Twitter ban in 2019 for suggesting electric cattle prods should be used on protesters.
QAnon conspiracies have been a recent target for takedowns and mass bans, especially in the wake of the violence seen in the US Capitol building last week.
Why not ban all misinformation or threats? Where's the line?
George Christensen has posed with a handgun, in a picture captioned: "You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?" This was seen as a threat by members of the Greens and referred to the Australian Federal Police, but neither the AFP nor Facebook took action as it was interpreted that it wasn't a real threat.
Anti-vaccination groups have not been systematically banned either. Instead Facebook primarily banned anti-vaccination advertising and consistent offenders.
This is an evolving situation for the platforms, and they're changing how strongly they enforce their existing rules while balancing the emerging needs for safety and security with the need for democratic participation.
For the tech giants, the link between social media incitement and real consequences cannot be avoided any longer following the attack on the US Capitol building.
Talk of another attempt on the Capitol has US authorities concerned, and they're sharing those concerns with the social media platforms.
US commentators have also noticed that social media companies decided there was more they could do to police Trump's destructive behaviour within days after they learned that Democrats would chair all the congressional committees that oversee them.
Are there free speech sanctuaries?
QAnon members have been moving to Parler, an alternative to Twitter that bills itself as a free speech haven, but it's found itself in a kind of cordon sanitaire.
Amazon's web hosting service, AWS pulled the plug on the platform, and the app has been pulled from the Google and Apple app stores.
Who else supports changes?
Many health groups have called for stronger laws against misinformation, and there are free speech think tanks opposed to those same proposals.
This week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said there needed to be additional oversight of how the platforms decide what content is allowed to circulate.
"Clearly, the digital platforms do have some control over what we see and read," Mr Sims said.
"How much we can leave it up to the digital platforms ... is one of the defining questions we have to face. We definitely need the government to get to grips with this; we can't just leave it with the digital platforms."