Welcome to this week’s editorial, Bullying, ranting, name calling, denigration, shaming, naming. We see posts made that edge on racisim, homophobia, political extremism. We see cruelty that is either physical or psychological being handed out in and once it begins we see others follow suit. But who is real in Social Media—it is easy to hide behind fictitious accounts and profiles that are set up to establish anonymity so when it begins to get harmful on social media in cases like defamation and criminal breaches of the law what recourse do people have? Across the media the news is that a recent decision of the Supreme Court of New South Wales determined that media companies could be liable for the defamatory comments made on news stories on their Facebook pages.
This means that media outlets such as the Bay Post, The Beagle, the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC could be held liable for the comments of random people on the internet. In the case of Dylan Voller whose court case attracted significant press coverage he sued the publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, the Centralian Advocate, Sky News Australia and The Bolt Report for defamation over the content on their Facebook pages.