The Australian high court has ruled today that news outlets can be held accountable and sued for defamatory social media third-party comments by their readers.
High Court 5-2 in the Voller case has held that media publishers are liable for defamatory third party comments posted on their social media pages, because by facilitating and encouraging the comments they assist in their publication. Implications: huge.— marquelawyers (@marquelawyers) September 8, 2021
News Outlets Responsible for Comments
The ruling means that any publisher based in Australia can be sued for any disparaging or hateful comments by readers even if they weren't aware of the comment.
The court order is expected to have grave far-reaching ramifications not just on the Australian publishers and news outlets but also on anyone who has largely followed pages. Many of these publishers are probably weighing if referral traffic from social media is worth facing this legal nightmare.
The Case Behind the Rulling
The case behind such a decision was filed by Former Northern Territory detainee Dylan Voller who sued The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian for defamatory comments on their Facebook pages on an article they published about him.
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