Digital giants Facebook, Twitter and Google have united to
reject an Abbott government proposal that would force social media
companies to remove content deemed harmful to young people.

The government has proposed appointing a children's e-safety
commissioner with the power to force sites to take down posts containing
bullying or harassment.

The Australian Interactive Media Industry Association -
representing the major social media companies - says the proposal is too
cumbersome and would not cover popular messaging services such as
Snapchat and Kik.

''A policy that clamps down heavily on the things that young
people can say to each other on larger responsible sites has potential
to drive young people to engage in risk-taking behaviour on services
that have less well-developed protections in place and are not covered
by the legislated scheme,'' the association said in its submission to
the government.

Facebook argues the definition of harmful content is too
broad and could be used to target, for example, photos of children
''planking'' with their friends.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Communications, Paul
Fletcher, has repeatedly said the current system of self-regulation was
not sufficient to protect children against online bullying.

''[If] you're a child who is a victim of cyber-bullying, or a
parent or a teacher wanting to assist that child, if the site doesn't
respond when you notify a concern, you really have no redress at all,''
he said last month.