Australian news publishers are required to be responsible for comments posted by readers on social media. This decision was made by the country’s Supreme Court. The court ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by a certain Dylan Voller, who accused the largest media companies of spreading slander.
According to the lawyers of O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors, who represented Voller’s interests in court, after a series of media publications posted on Facebook pages, libelous comments began to appear. The plaintiff held the news companies responsible because they published the material.
Woller has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Sydney Morning Herald. An appeal was filed following a court decision in Woller’s favor. The main argument of the defendant was that media companies are only engaged in administering Facebook pages and are not responsible for the content published by users. However, the position of the court is different. “Actions by media companies to facilitate, encourage, and thus facilitate the publication of third-party Facebook comments allow them to be recognized as the publisher of those comments.”Judge Rothman ruled.
Earlier, we recall that Facebook did not allow page moderators to disable comments under posts, but the situation has changed since then. Now the case will return to a higher court, which will put an end to the dispute: whether Woller slandered any of the user comments.
Representatives of the press have already stated that they are disappointed with the court’s decision. According to News Corp Australia chairman Michael Miller, this case concerns literally everyone with public social media accounts. Users and companies will have to be responsible for content posted by third parties.