Australian High Court decision, media companies responsible for comments on Facebook page

Australian High Court decision, media companies responsible for comments on Facebook page

In a landmark ruling, Australia’s top court said on Wednesday that media companies are responsible for comments posted by third parties on their official Facebook pages. The High Court rejected the arguments of some of Australia’s major media companies… Fairfax Media Publications, Nationwide News and Australian News Channel, saying they are the “publishers” of the comments. The court gave a 5-2 vote against the media companies. The court said that the media companies encouraged these comments and they were involved in the entire conversation.

After this decision, previously detained minor Dylan Waller can run a case of contempt against these media organizations. Waller appealed for contempt proceedings against television broadcasters such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Centralian Advocate, Sky News Australia and The Bolt Report and comments on newspaper Facebook pages.

Waller’s contempt case was stayed in the New South Wales State Supreme Court in 2017. At the time, there was no answer to the question whether media companies were responsible for the comments of Facebook users.

These companies published reports on Waller’s time spent in a juvenile detention center in the northern region. Facebook users then made derogatory remarks against Waller. Facebook did not immediately comment on this.

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