High Court of Australia declares media companies liable for content on platforms

The High Court of Australia has issued its decision in the case of Dylan Voller against a number of media organisations – Fairfax Media Publications, Nationwide News, and Australian News Channel

In 2016, pictures of Dylan Voller at a youth detention centre were published by many news outlets and shared on Facebook. Voller sued, arguing that comments left on Facebook pages of media companies in reaction to his story were defamatory, and that, ‘by inviting these comments, the news outlets were legally their publishers.

Now the High Court of Australia ruled that media companies, by creating a public Facebook page and posting content on that page, and by facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users rendered them publishers of those comments. The media companies did not have to be aware of the defamatory content or intend to convey it in order to be liable.