Media companies in Australia are responsible for the comments below their Facebook news stories. The Australian High Court has ruled that the moment a user posts a defamatory comment, the media are liable.
With Facebook, media companies make it possible to post comments below their news items. This means that the media, such as newspapers and television channels, can be viewed as the publisher of the responses, the court says.
According to the ruling, media companies are also liable if they are not aware of the posting of the response. It makes no sense to remove hateful comments, because companies are responsible from the moment the comment becomes online.
The ruling was handed down two years ago by a New South Wales court, but several major media companies, including Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, have appealed it. The Supreme Court now upholds the ruling.
media law in australia
Since this year, media companies can turn off reactions under news articles on Facebook. But this makes it more difficult to promote articles and generate advertising revenue.
In February, media companies were also tough in Australia. Then it was temporarily not possible to share the news on Facebook. It was a result of the new media law, which required Facebook to pay media outlets for viewing their content. After consultation between Facebook and the government, Facebook reversed its decision and allowed it to publish the news again.
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