Federal Member For Banks
Shadow Minister for Communications

Shadow Minister For Communications – Media Release – Age Verification Trial Must Include Instagram, TikTok

The federal Government must include social media sites – especially Instagram and TikTok – in the age verification trial.

Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman said the Coalition welcomed the backflip from the Prime Minister and Communications Minister last week on conducting the online safety pilot.

“The Government spent a year opposing action on age verification,” Mr Coleman said. “Now that they are acting on the age verification trial, they must ensure that social media companies are included.

“You can’t tackle children’s online safety without tackling Instagram and TikTok. It would be like regulating road safety without doing anything about speed limits or seatbelts. Australian families are distressed about the impact of these platforms on their children’s lives.

“Social media use can be immensely damaging for Australian children, who have significantly more mental health issues than previous generations. We must take action now to limit the access of children to platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

“In the key March 2023 recommendation to the Albanese Government, the eSafety Commissioner said that an age assurance trial should be run for ‘multiple use cases’, and that establishing a minimum age for social media use could be one of those use cases.*

“The UK’s announcement just this week shows where the world is going on age verification for social media. It’s happening in the UK, in Europe, in US states like Florida, and we need to move forward in Australia. We cannot leave our children behind.

“Minister Rowland has been completely out of touch with reality on the importance of age verification. She blocked action on the Commissioner’s recommendation for more than a year. She instructed Labor MPs to vote against age verification when the Coalition brought forward legislation on this key issue, last November.

“If the Government does not include Instagram and TikTok in its age verification trial, it will be showing that it is not serious about the issue. It will be siding with the social media giants, and against Australian children and their parents.

“Minister Rowland must clearly state that Instagram and TikTok will be part of the age verification trial.”

SourceRoadmap for Age Verification (p. 28)

Shadow Minister for Communications
Member for Banks
Hon David Coleman MP