SYDNEY—Australia’s highest court found that newspapers and television stations that post articles on Facebook Inc.’s FB 1.57% platform are liable for other Facebook users’ comments on those posts, a ruling that could prompt traditional publishers to rethink how they engage with social media.
The High Court of Australia determined that media companies, by creating a public Facebook page and posting content on that page, facilitated and encouraged comments from other users on those posts. That means the media companies should be considered publishers of the comments and are therefore responsible for any defamatory content that appears in them, according to a summary of the judgment from the court.
Media companies, including News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment Co., owner of the Sydney Morning Herald, called for legislators to change Australia’s laws to protect them from liability, saying the ruling essentially makes media companies responsible for other people’s comments even when they are unaware the comments have been posted.
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