False: Australia has introduced a social credit system for people to access the internet via a digital ID.

By: Ankita Kulkarni
December 23 2022

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False: Australia has introduced a social credit system for people to access the internet via a digital ID.


The Verdict False

Australia is not introducing a social credit system. Unimplemented legislative proposals from 2021 to tackle online abuse have been misinterpreted.

Claim ID 8a343d64


A video posted on Twitter on December 12, 2022, claims that Australia has introduced a social credit system in the country to access the internet. The caption reads: "Social credit introduced to access the internet via your digital ID. Citizens need 100 points of identification to use social media & the police will have access to your accounts including private messaging. Goodbye freedom. Hello tyranny." The post has garnered 1.6 million views on Twitter.

In the video, a reporter from 9News Australia states that the government is considering recommendations made by a committee to crack down on social media abuse. According to the report, this would require users to submit 100 points of identification like a passport or driver's license when using social media. The police would then have access to those social media accounts, part of the plan to track the abuse, file defamation cases, and reduce bad conduct on social media. However, we found that the report had been taken out of context and misinterpreted.

In Fact

The original video news report by 9News Australia dates back to 2021 and reports on the recommendations needed to tackle technology-facilitated abuse laid out by the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs in March 2021. The news channel posted the video on its official Twitter handle on April 2, 2021, captioning it: "The government is considering a plan to crack down on social media abuse. Users could soon have to submit 100 points of identification when using social media accounts. #9News."

We found the report by the committee containing these recommendations titled “Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence.” Recommendation 30 notes the steps that can be taken by the government to mitigate technology-facilitated abuse. Two of the points in that appeared to be the focus of the 9News Australia report. 

First, "In order to open or maintain an existing social media account, customers should be required by law to identify themselves to a platform using 100 points of identification, in the same way as a person must provide identification for a mobile phone account, or to buy a mobile SIM card." 

Second, "Social media platforms must provide those identifying details when requested by the eSafety Commissioner, law enforcement, or as directed by a court."

However, these were only the committee recommendations that were not enacted or included in any of the social media/technology acts introduced in 2021. The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Act came into being in September 2021. This new law created new forms of warrants allowing Australian law enforcement to request intelligence on digital crimes. It specifically noted that the powers are targeted at devices involved in the warrant and do not power the general collection of information over Australia's telecommunications networks. This legislation also did not impose any obligations on the technology or telecommunications industry or the eSafety Commissioner. It clearly mentions that only Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) are authorized to use these powers to identify and disrupt serious crimes online.

Neither of the reports mention introducing a social credit system in the country to access the internet or social media. The reference to this kind of system comes from that implemented in China in 2020. This is essentially a program that monitors the behavior of citizens, gives them scores, and hands out punishments and rewards basis this score. China's social credit system judges citizens' behavior and trustworthiness, states a 2019 article on the subject published by Wired. "Caught jaywalking, don't pay a court bill, play your music too loud on the train — you could lose certain rights, such as booking a flight or train ticket," it adds. When completed, the system will extend to individuals and businesses.

A digital ID is the digital counterpart of a physical ID card, passport, or driver's license. In Australia, a digital ID allows access to online government services; the official website notes that the information is securely encrypted and stored in Australia and is shared with chosen service providers only with people's consent. It uses security features already installed in mobile devices, and the information is not shared with the government. However, this does not make it the hallmark of a social credit system; it is only proof to identify oneself.

The Verdict

There is no evidence that the Australian government plans to introduce a social credit system for people to access their social media.

An old news report discussing unimplemented recommendations by a committee regarding the collection of identifying information and passing it on to law enforcement in cases is being shared with a false claim. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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