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Showing posts with label user generate content. Show all posts
Showing posts with label user generate content. Show all posts

Responsibility for User Comments Posted on Facebook

The High Court of Australia decided today that a newspaper with a Facebook page is responsible for defamatory comments posted by Facebook users on the newspaper's Facebook page.

"The appellants' attempt to portray themselves as passive and unwitting victims of Facebook's functionality has an air of unreality. Having taken action to secure the commercial benefit of the Facebook functionality, the appellants bear the legal consequences."

None of this is surprising.  There are many prior cases in different areas that reach the same result.  There was an Advertising Standards Board decision against VB that said similar, and also the ACCC v. Allergy Pathways case from about 10 years ago.

The next question is whether Facebook could be liable for defamation for user content.


Liability for anonymous online reviews

The Federal Court handed down a judgment yesterday regarding defamation for anonymous online reviews of a dentist.

Nettle v Cruse [2021] FCA 935

https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2021/2021fca0935

"The publications in question here were excessive, scandalous and totally unjustified and unjustifiable. I have no hesitation in finding that they were malicious and calculated to cause maximum damage to Dr Nettle. The fact that Ms Cruse chose to publish such baseless and scandalous material about Dr Nettle either anonymously or in false names supports the inference that she well knew that it was false and misleading. That is perhaps confirmed by the fact that, when Dr Nettle eventually commenced this proceeding, Ms Cruse chose to disappear rather than front-up and defend her indefensible actions. Ms Cruse’s conduct towards Dr Nettle was, in all the circumstances, contumelious and disgraceful."

Section 230

Has Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gone too far?  Some think it does:

Judge Robert Katzmann in a recent case wrote a 35-page dissent to part of the ruling, arguing that Facebook’s algorithmic recommendations shouldn’t be covered by the legal protections of Section 230.

Late last year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a call to hear a different case that would have tested the Section 230 shield. In a statement attached to the court’s decision, Justice Clarence Thomas called for the court to consider whether Section 230’s protections had been expanded too far, citing Judge Katzmann’s opinion.

Justice Thomas said the court didn’t need to decide in the moment whether to rein in the legal protections. “But in an appropriate case, it behooves us to do so,” he said.

See NY Times article.

Many U.S. Internet businesses think that Section 230 has international application.  It does not.  It may provide protection in respect of U.S. lawsuits, but not lawsuits in other countries.

Section 230

Opinion | The Constitution Can Crack Section 230
Tech companies think the statute allows them to censor with impunity. The law is seldom so simple.

Read in The Wall Street Journal: https://apple.news/AykpuzRwHQJeQWQoc3GPxyg 

Freedom from Lawsuits or Freedom of Speech?

 Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is supposedly being reviewed.  From the NY Times:

Chief executives from Google, Facebook and Twitter appeared before a Senate hearing on a law that protects internet companies from liability for much of what their users post, and on how they moderate content.

Democrats focused on misinformation and extremism. They also accused Republicans of holding the hearing to benefit President Trump.

Republicans accused the executives of selective censorship, questioning Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, above, on how the company handled specific tweets. “Mr. Dorsey, who the hell elected you and put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report and what the American people are allowed to hear?” Senator Ted Cruz said.

Arrested for giving a bad review

An American who complained on TripAdvisor that a resort hotel in Thailand wanted to charge him a $15 corkage fee for bringing his own bottle of gin to the restaurant was arrested this month and spent a weekend in jail. If convicted of criminal defamation, he faces up to two years in prison. So don't write anything bad about the Sea View Koh Chang resort, which had the charges brought.

After a backlash, the resort had some regrets. “We agree that using a defamation law may be viewed as excessive for this situation,” the hotel acknowledged.

Newspaper head to High Court regarding liability for users' Facebook comments

The newspapers are appealing the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal that decided that media companies can be held responsible for defamatory comments under stories they post on Facebook.

Guardian Article, and discussion of appeal here.   The newspapers are appealing to the High Court.

The Court of Appeal decision is not surprising.  Compare prior cases:

http://www.cyberspac.com/2012/07/smirnoff-responsible-for-comments-of.html

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/firm-fined-for-testimonials-by-facebook-fans-and-tweeters

Fake Reviews!

Online odd jobs platform Service Seeking has been fined $600,000 for falsely representing that reviews on its platform were written by customers when in fact they were written by the businesses themselves.



Another ACCC case regarding misleading consumer reviews

The ACCC has launched another case against ServiceSeeking regarding misleading online reviews of tradespeople.  See story here.

This is similar to the Meriton case, discussed in posts below, regarding misleading hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.

User Generated Content

An interesting story from England.  A hotel fined a guest for a bad review on TripAdvisor.

See Couple Fined by Hotel for Bad Review

See also this article, that mentions some lawsuits regarding user generated content

Affiliate Program Advertisers Must Take Care Not to be Misleading

Many businesses run affiliate programs.  That is, a publisher or blogger will receive a commission for referring people to the website of th...