High Court finds media outlets were publishers of allegedly defamatory third-party user comments on Facebook
The High Court decision in Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Voller  HCA 27 is discussed in Legal update: case report, High Court finds media outlets were publishers of allegedly defamatory third-party user comments on Facebook, highlighting its importance for parties using public Facebook and other social media pages to share content and invite third party commentary. The decision dismissed appeals from a judgment of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Re Fairfax Media Publications  NSWCA 102), holding media outlets liable for any posts made by the general public on their social media pages as the publisher of those comments.
The High Court's decision comes as the Council of Attorneys-General's (CAG) second stage of defamation law reform (which is expected to focus on the responsibilities and liability of digital platforms for defamatory content published online) is pending. For further information on stage 2 reforms, see Legislation Tracker, Defamation reform: Stage 2 Review of the Model Defamation Provisions and Practice note, Defamation: Stage 2 Review of the Model Defamation Provisions.
For a guide to Practical Law's resources dealing with defamation, law reform, awards of damages and information relevant to commercial, employment and dispute resolution legal practitioners, see Toolkit, Defamation.