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10 Oct 2021

Social Media Platforms to be Held Accountable for Defamation in Australia

The Index Today

The government of Australia plans introduce new measures to help regulate social media companies and ensure no defamatory messages are posted online.

The announcement came from Communications minister, Paul Fletcher, who said, “We expect a stronger position from the platforms. For a long time, they’ve been getting away with not taking any responsibility in relation to content published on their sites.”

In recent events, the nation’s social media platforms have raised new concerns regarding defamation, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison going as far to say social media is a “coward’s palace.” Social media platforms should be held responsible for defamatory comments similar to publishers in the industry.

Paul Fletcher said the government is looking into a wide range of options to regulate places such as Twitter and Facebook. He further stated “We will look at that. We’ll go through a careful, methodological process. In a whole range of ways, we are cracking down on this idea that what is posted online can be posted with impunity.”

The urgency in changing the nation’s defamation laws come after the high court introduced a new law saying publishers will and may be held accountable for comments made on public forums online.

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