Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has candidly expressed his frustration with social media during a long-form interview with 3AW Radio Host Neil Mitchell.
When Mitchell, posing a hypothetical scenario, asked what the Prime Minister would do if he were a dictator for five years, Albanese revealed that banning social media would be first on his list.
The Prime Minister's comment comes at a critical time as the federal parliament is deliberating on a 'misinformation' bill, a controversial proposal that has raised alarm over online censorship and government's role in deciding the truth.
"I think the big frustrating thing, if I could do something, maybe ban social media would be it," Albanese remarked, citing his concerns over the short-term news cycle and the rise of "keyboard warriors" who can anonymously spread false information.
These comments are significant, especially after the recent interview on Mitchell's podcast with Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini, an episode that broke records by garnering over 150,000 views on YouTube alone, becoming Neil Mitchell and 3AW's most popular podcast episode.
It also comes the Albanese government's Voice to Parliament referendum campaign has copped a battering in social media's public square, where those dissenting and arguing against the 'Yes' vote have been able to gain considerable traction in countering the motives and proposed implications about what the constitutional change will mean for Australians.
The Prime Minister’s statement is already causing waves, particularly among social media activists and free-speech advocates who argue that it could further fuel concerns about the government's role in censorship, especially when the ‘misinformation’ bill is under consideration.
Albanese did not explicitly support the idea of dictatorship but emphasised the importance of focusing on the long-term interests of the country, and expressed his belief that the current social media environment hampers this focus, but failed to outline detailed reasons why.
The interview touched on various other topics, from Indigenous Australians' crisis to Albanese's opinions on fellow politicians.
But it is the comment on social media that has captured attention, sparking fresh debates on the delicate balance between regulation and freedom of expression online, at a time when the nation grapples with the implications of the proposed legislation.