News

Personal attack on social media is a legal worry

Facebook and other social media is the same as any kind of publishing when it comes to the law.
Facebook and other social media is the same as any kind of publishing when it comes to the law. Mel McMillan

WE love our social media, but do you know where you stand with the law when it comes to defamation?

The Daily News asked legal expert Mark Pearson, of Griffith University, just what we need to watch out for when Tweeting, Facebooking and commenting online.

Dr Pearson said commenting on social media was the same as any type of publishing and the rules of defamation applied.

He defined defamation as "publishing anything which damages a person's reputation", and while truth was a legal defence you had to be able and willing to prove it in a court of law.

Defamation could include making innuendo or casting dispersions about a person's character or their performance at their job.

He said criticism was okay, but when it became personal or damaging to a person's reputation it crossed the line into the defamatory.

"Playing the issues is safe, but not playing the person," he said.

Dr Pearson said there were a number of precedents in the Australian courts for successful defamation cases relating to social media and online.

And not only is the person who writes the comments liable, but if they were posted on a Facebook page the administrators of that page may find themselves before the courts.

"The comments should be taken down within a reasonable amount of time," he advised anyone responsible for a Facebook page with comments which crossed the line.

With the participation levels in social media on the rise, Dr Pearson said we will see many more social media defamation cases before the courts.

Topics:  defamation, social media



Surfer's shark tale: 'That's when it's come straight at me'

Pictured at Kingscliff this morning Rodney Clark has survived a Great White encounter.

"I lost sight of my son because a wave hit him"

Sleeping rough for Fred's Place

ALL RUGGED UP: From left, Lenny McLennan, Jason McDonald, Gerard Robinson, Gordon Rhodes and Stuart Burrows prepare for Fred's Place Sleep Out.

Tweed locals show support for homeless by sleeping outside in boxes.

Latest deals and offers

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

Mum driver heroically ignores hilarious lip-syncing son

Hilarious moves while Mum concentrates on the road.

IF IT takes a village to raise a child, why aren't they driving?

Twitter adds dancing David Brent emoji

Ricky Gervais's character has its own emoji now

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started