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posted by janrinok on Thursday September 09, @01:36AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

High Court finds media outlets are responsible for Facebook comments in Dylan Voller defamation case - ABC News:

The High Court has dismissed an appeal by some of Australia's biggest media outlets including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, finding they are the publishers of third-party comments on their Facebook pages.

Former Northern Territory detainee Dylan Voller wants to sue the companies over alleged defamatory comments on their Facebook pages in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

But the case had been stalled by the dispute over whether the outlets were the publishers of the material. The High Court today found that, by running the Facebook pages, the media groups participated in communicating any defamatory material posted by third parties and are therefore responsible for the comments.

Mr Voller's defamation case had been progressing through the courts until questions arose over whether the outlets were considered the publishers of the Facebook comments, which were posted in reply to articles written between July 2016 and June 2017.

The question was sent to the High Court, and at the core of the case was the definition of publishing.

Lawyers for the media groups told the High Court they might have facilitated the process, but they were not the publishers of the material. But lawyers for Mr Voller told the High Court that, under the law, communication of a defamatory comment did not have to be done intentionally.

"Any degree of participation in that process of communication, however minor, makes the participant a publisher," the lawyers' submissions said.

One of the difficulties for the media groups at the time was that Facebook did not allow them to turn off the comments function.


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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Thursday September 09, @02:07AM (24 children)

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Thursday September 09, @02:07AM (#1176068)

    the law is a ass.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 09, @02:26AM (12 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @02:26AM (#1176074) Homepage Journal

      Agreed - this is a bad move. It will only encourage Big Tech to be more abusive with their censorship algorithms.

      I see a bright sliver of hope though. Some article about gays or transvestites is published, evoking some conversation which the publisher shuts down. The LGBT people scream bloody murder for having been censored, so the legal fools revisit this case and have it reversed. Or, maybe a discussion on Islam is shut down, and Muslims do the screaming instead. It certainly wouldn't work if Christians did the screaming.

      Don't all social media have disclaimers similar to SN? "The comments below belong to whichever fool posted them, we take no responsibility for any of it."

      --
      alles in Ordnung
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:33AM (#1176078)

        On soylent we can say whatever random crap we like, caveat: I am not an Australian lawyer, because we're not responsible for the article.

        This is the article's author's official media posting a link to the article. Allowing comments on the official newspaper facebook page.

        Subtle difference.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:48AM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:48AM (#1176079)

        > Some article about gays or transvestites is published, evoking some conversation which the publisher shuts down.

        It's funny that you need the people on your side to behave as their reputation dictates to make that hypothetical shutdown happen, but you still want to play up the "evoking conversation" as if it'll somehow land the blame of malfeasance on the 'opposition'.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:50AM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:50AM (#1176081)

          dafuq did you even say?

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:06AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:06AM (#1176087)

            he needs his buddies to misbehave so he can claim the other side started it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:30AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:30AM (#1176094)

            It's called a run-on sentence.

            • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday September 09, @04:57AM (2 children)

              by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday September 09, @04:57AM (#1176113)

              It's called an illegible sentence.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @11:10AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @11:10AM (#1176206)

                Oh, the sentence was certainly LEGIBLE, as everyone here could clearly see it to read it.
                The word you are looking for is UNINTELLIGIBLE.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @11:26AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @11:26AM (#1176212)

        It will only encourage Big Tech to be more abusive with their censorship algorithms.

        Big Tech can't get more abusive than they already are. Those who are concerned about this just realize that sauce for the goose can be sauce for the gander.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @04:08PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @04:08PM (#1176291)

        Is that because christians no longer kill people for not believing as they do?

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @07:25PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @07:25PM (#1176355)

          No, it's because the Talmudic, Supranational Jews use Islam as a Gollum, and want to destroy Christianity along with everything else White; when they are done using it to brainwash whites into suicide like a Toxoplasmosis infection. Most people just think the anti-christian activity is b/c the world is full of The Devil or something, and in a sense they are right. The Supranational, Talmudic (the real supremacists) Jew is evil and hell-bent on exterminating Whites.

          I was just watching a pbs show about A.I. taking jerbs and the whole thing was full of CRT/cultural marxist (anti-white, Jew) propaganda, just like everything else on PBS/TV.

          The building Whitelash will be severe. This is why the Jews are mobilizing the whole captive intelligence apparatus and FBI (domestic mossad) to try and root out "white supremecy". More like the budding resistance to white genocide.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:13AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:13AM (#1176474)

            Well at least we can feel secure in the knowledge that you'll never breed!

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:29AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:29AM (#1176076)

      If you're arguing why newspapers should be responsible for their users' commentary, that's a separate issue. This is a loophole to allow verboten comments on one medium but not another.

      Online newspapers in the country are required to employ editors to moderate their users' content attached to stories.

      The argument is why should they be exempt when their media outlet's facebook page allows comments on a link to an article just because the comments section is on facebook.com rather than smh.com.au

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 09, @11:29AM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Thursday September 09, @11:29AM (#1176213) Homepage
        I /think/ I agree.

        SMH having a FB page that permits readers to add comments to stories is no different from them hosting the comments on their own site, apart from the fact that the physical storage of and access to the comments is outsourced to FB. I think there's agreed precedent that they do have to moderate ones they host themselves, so I don't see this as a huge change.

        Why should FB be responsible for everything they host? Different people/companies will want their own kind of moderation policy anyway, it's surely better for the papers/outlets that they take responsibility for the content that's under their own part of the site.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday September 09, @06:15PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday September 09, @06:15PM (#1176339) Journal

        The S.E.P field [fandom.com] has been breached!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:49AM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:49AM (#1176080)

      It can probably be blamed on AU having no bill of rights. The Australian people don't seem in a rush to give themselves rights though, so it must be just how they like it over there, cuz Democracy® is perfect.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:01AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:01AM (#1176085)

        We had an opportunity 2 decades ago to draft a new constitution with all that jizz as part of the Republic debate.

        We got shafted with a lame duck that simply replaced the Governor General's title with President - to which the public said fuck it we'll stick with Queenie.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:59AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:59AM (#1176104)

          We had an opportunity 2 decades ago to draft a new constitution with all that jizz as part of the Republic debate.

          Because we need two "fly to Hawaii let OzLand burn", "not a race", "I'm entitled to a VIP jet over Father's Day" ScoMos, one is not enough.

          to which the public said fuck it we'll stick with Queenie.

          Nothing that happened in between to change my mind.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @06:04AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @06:04AM (#1176132)

          At the time I met a pro-republic australian bartender in Florida who told me about that issue.

          What would have been so bad about that? The president would have been voted on by parliament and not dependent on a foreigner's assent. Transitioning to a presidential system like the US has would have been far more disruptive.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:44AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:44AM (#1176097)

        Australia is the biggest joke on the planet right now. Which is surprising given the competition.

        There is no hope for Australians anymore.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @04:02AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @04:02AM (#1176105)

          Just stay out and you'll be fine. As we already are here, thanks for asking.

        • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday September 09, @06:18PM (1 child)

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday September 09, @06:18PM (#1176341) Journal

          Australia is the biggest joke on the planet right now. Which is surprising given the competition.

          Don't worry, Trump is planning a 2024 run.

          USA #1!!!!!!!!!

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:24AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:24AM (#1176478)

            Making nAzis Great Again?

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:10AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:10AM (#1176088)

    Editorial discretion appears, based on this report, to be associated with editorial responsibility in Australia. So far, so sensible. Power and responsibility residing together makes sense.

    The difficulty now is that public participation becomes that much harder because every single post has to pass through editors, whose bias (because of liability) has to be to deny, rather than permit.

    Sucks to be them, I guess.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @03:54AM (#1176100)

      If they don't want to be responsible, they don't have to publish it. It's the same as an old paper newpaper's "Letters to the Editor" column. They may disclaim the views of the writers, but they still sure as hell refuse to publish libelous statements.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Mykl on Thursday September 09, @08:19AM (1 child)

      by Mykl (1112) on Thursday September 09, @08:19AM (#1176166)

      Sucks to be them, I guess

      Sucks to be Facebook, more like.

      This will simply drive media organisations away from a platform that can get them sued and back toward actually owning and moderating the content that is attached to their name. This is probably a long-term win for them since the general public is a lot less tolerant of bullshit from people like Ethanol-Fueled than this site is.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @07:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @07:29PM (#1176358)

        the world is too stupid and lazy to learn the truth about The Jew? yeah, i know, you dumb slave.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by EJ on Thursday September 09, @03:22AM (9 children)

    by EJ (2452) on Thursday September 09, @03:22AM (#1176091)

    doesn't bother me.

    Burn it all to the ground.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by PiMuNu on Thursday September 09, @05:04AM (8 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday September 09, @05:04AM (#1176115)

      You do realise you are posting on a social media site?

      • (Score: 2) by EJ on Thursday September 09, @08:19AM (7 children)

        by EJ (2452) on Thursday September 09, @08:19AM (#1176165)

        No. There is a subtle difference. This is a web forum. This isn't a site designed for you to share the random thoughts you have while pooping.

        We had Usenet and web forums long before the scourge of Fakebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

        • (Score: 1, Troll) by PiMuNu on Thursday September 09, @08:37AM (3 children)

          by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday September 09, @08:37AM (#1176171)

          > This isn't a site designed for you to share the random thoughts you have while pooping.

          https://soylentnews.org/journal.pl [soylentnews.org]

          • (Score: 2) by EJ on Thursday September 09, @10:28AM (2 children)

            by EJ (2452) on Thursday September 09, @10:28AM (#1176201)

            You obviously missed the point about sharing the thoughts during the act of pooping.

            That is included in the OED definition of Twitter.

            • (Score: 1, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @12:36PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @12:36PM (#1176228)

              You must have missed fakefuck69. We have articles, comments, magic internet points, and everything else of social media. SN is social media.

              • (Score: 5, Insightful) by EJ on Thursday September 09, @12:40PM

                by EJ (2452) on Thursday September 09, @12:40PM (#1176229)

                Nope. SN might want to try to include social media features, but it's not. It's just a standard old-school bulletin board. Nobody gives a shit about your journal. I doubt you even have one.

                Moderation systems aren't the same as likes/dislikes. Maybe people want to use them the same way, but whatever. Still different from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

                SN isn't about YOU. It's about the story that you're commenting on.

        • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday September 09, @05:18PM

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday September 09, @05:18PM (#1176314) Journal

          This isn't a site designed for you to share the random thoughts you have while pooping.

          Oh shit, I've been using my journal all wrong!

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PinkyGigglebrain on Thursday September 09, @08:00PM (1 child)

          by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Thursday September 09, @08:00PM (#1176368)

          No. There is a subtle difference. This is a web forum.

          Six of one, half dozen of the other.

          You might make the distinction but the law doesn't. Legally SN is a social media site, just like Facebook.

          --
          "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Friday September 10, @01:18AM

            by Immerman (3985) on Friday September 10, @01:18AM (#1176455)

            Agreed. "Social Media" is not a legally recognized subcategory.

            And for good reason - seems to me "social media" is one of those buzzwords that's damnably hard to nail down. Personally I'd say there's a good argument to be made that BBSes were (electronic) social media v1.0, from which evolved Usenet, internet forums, and eventually the modern manifestations.

            That said, there also seems to be something fundamentally different in the results of modern Social Media. Personally I suspect it's because of the individually curated contents and ads heavily optimized for "engagement", creating a powerful ideological echo chamber effect, for good and ill, along with a ready-made channel for organized misinformation campaigns to carefully target their narrative to where it can cause the most damage.

            Personally, given the proven ease and ubiquity of such problems, I'd be 100% in favor of any such individually-curated platform being considered a publisher, and thus responsible for the content of everything they show people, just as they would be in any other medium. It seems to me that as soon as they begin curating content they can no longer claim to simply be providing a communication platform - their curation makes them an active participant in ever feed item by virtue of the billions of other items they chose not to show you.

            Though it's worth considering that things like Google's individually optimized search results would likely put them under the same umbrella unless an exception was carved out for such search engines.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @05:09AM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @05:09AM (#1176118)

    I think tomorrows news will read: Australia finds nobody gives a shit about what Australia finds. On the global scale they're about 1/10th of a Britain, which is about 1/20th of an EU.

    • (Score: 2) by garfiejas on Thursday September 09, @08:25AM (1 child)

      by garfiejas (2072) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @08:25AM (#1176167)
      • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Thursday September 09, @08:03PM

        by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Thursday September 09, @08:03PM (#1176369)

        I think the OP was referring more to the amount of political influence Australia has in the world, which really isn't much.

        --
        "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Thursday September 09, @08:35AM (13 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @08:35AM (#1176170) Journal

      I think tomorrows news will read: Australia finds nobody gives a shit about what Australia finds.

      As an Australian, I don't give a shit on what you imagine about Australia. The worst you imagine, the better we will be.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @11:17AM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @11:17AM (#1176208)

        A different AC: well, Australia has made an international name for itself as the quickest country to flip into totalitarianism without a revolution. All it took was a relatively undangerous virus as the excuse. Enjoy your house arrest, depending on what state you are in.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 09, @12:08PM (9 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @12:08PM (#1176223) Journal

          Good. Stay out mate, we're totalitarians and we love it.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @12:28PM (8 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @12:28PM (#1176227)

            I'm over it, to be honest.

            I had my 2nd jab 2 months ago, now in limbo for another 2 months until the rest of the city reaches 80%.

            Vaccine passports can't come soon enough - we're held hostage by vaccine hesitancy.

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 09, @12:50PM (7 children)

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @12:50PM (#1176232) Journal

              Waiting for my second. Could have had it last week, but I wanted to save the trip to get my father two. Two more until the prescribed 6 weeks between the two AZ shots for him. Meanwhile, it's hard to find a free spot around, everybody and their dog is queuing to vax in Melbourne.

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @01:39PM (6 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @01:39PM (#1176247)

                Jesus, not only can Australia not get vaccines to their people (and holds them hostage meanwhile), but the vaccine is the shit Astra Zeneca that some countries have BANNED because of poor efficacy and a high rate of side effects. Australia, the incompetent totalitarian state. More like Cuba than the Soviet Union. So many passive Australians won't even hold their govt to account, but gladly submit and subject others to the fucking over. Third rate conquered people.

                Apologies to those who did anything to protest the govt shit show.

                • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @01:52PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @01:52PM (#1176256)

                  It is what it is.

                  There was a Queensland vaccine undergoing trials that had the side effect of testing as HIV positive! So the government panicked and did a deal with the British for Astra Z.

                  Except then they scared everyone off by suggesting people get Pfizer instead but there wasn't enough so now they're scrambling to import Moderna.

                  Dunno why you're ragging on Cuba - red propaganda always emphasizes Che's medical system as batting above its average.

                • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday September 09, @01:56PM (2 children)

                  by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @01:56PM (#1176258) Journal

                  Apologies to those who did anything to protest the govt shit show.

                  You mean those 1000 idiots that tried a superspreader event? A good thing they paid enough fines for the one month wages of the police present to their "event".

                  Meanwhile, I continue to work from home, with a good salary paid by an American corporation and my sister gets enough of her money from the funds allocated by the govt to stay safe. The Chinese were gracious enough to pay for the ores at 3x times the normal prices, so that we haven't had a recession yet in Australia.

                  --
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:31PM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @02:31PM (#1176269)

                    "Stay safe." colo, if you think the totalitarian control of the populace will magically end when 80% of the population gets vaccinated, you aren't thinking clearly. Having seized outrageous powers for themselves, the people in charge are not the sort to give them up later. They have been shown just how easily they can take it. And the vaccines have shown themselves not to offer guaranteed immunity to the coronavirus. The virus mutates, and the vaccine which was developed for a specific strain becomes less effective. Governments around the world are already talking about (Israel has already done it) mandating a THIRD vaccine dose. The virus panic never ends... unless the people make it end. Coronavirus is endemic and is another virus we have to live with now. Finland and Sweden have decided to live normal lives now, as it is a "background" virus. I hope the weak and old people in your country get their vaccination, as they are the ones who really benefit.

                    • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Thursday September 09, @02:49PM

                      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 09, @02:49PM (#1176273) Journal

                      "Stay safe." colo, if you think the totalitarian control of the populace will magically end when 80% of the population gets vaccinated, you aren't thinking clearly.

                      Wanna bet?
                      What if you're wrong and a totalitarian Australian regime is just a figment of your imagination?

                      mandating a THIRD vaccine dose.

                      If they don't give it for free, I'll pay it from my pocket anyway. The more, the merrier. I mean, what's not to like being connected to 5G via multiple providers? (grin)

                      --
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 1) by NPC-131072 on Thursday September 09, @09:23PM (1 child)

                  by NPC-131072 (7144) on Thursday September 09, @09:23PM (#1176386) Journal

                  the vaccine is the shit Astra Zeneca that some countries have BANNED because of poor efficacy and a high rate of side effects

                  Hello fren,

                  Why you say that? [capx.co] It's not true. [republicworld.com]

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:20AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @02:20AM (#1176476)

                    The puppet speaks!

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @01:41PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @01:41PM (#1176249)

        In oppressive regimes, happy prison guards frequently turn into unhappy inmates. But history teaches us that people do not learn from history.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @06:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, @06:01PM (#1176336)

          C0lo is just pining for the repression of his youth. It's a perfectly natural thing.

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