With the advancement of social media platforms in recent years and their increased reach to wider audiences, social media defamation has also proportionately increased. It has become easier to post defamatory content about a person or business through the internet on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
A new bill known as the Social Media (Basic Expectations and Defamation) Bill 2021 has been introduced to the Australian Parliament to curb this issue. Under this legislation, social media firms would be liable for defamatory content posted on their platforms.
So, if you are someone living in Perth who has been targeted with defamatory content on any social media platform, you need to know all about this newly introduced Bill and maybe consult defamation lawyers Perth to provide you legal assistance.
What Can Be Considered A Defamatory Content
There are various statements and material which can be put under defamatory content. Let’s check a few of them:
- To address someone as dishonest, corrupt or unfaithful.
- Ridiculing a person to harm his/her reputation
- Accusing someone of being involved in illegal acts
- Proclaiming about a person that he/she is suffering from an infectious disease, even though the person is in perfect health
- The defamatory content can be anything like social media posts, photos, or videos.
- Defamatory content can be posted against a person, a group of people or any business.
- A person is guilty of defamation even though he/she has not created the defamatory material but only shares it through the internet.
It is recommended to get hold of experienced social media defamation lawyers to guide a person in taking necessary actions against defamation.
Overview Of The Bill
The Bill intends to enable the Minister to set basic expectations of a social media service provider regarding the hosting of defamatory content on the social media platforms. It also ensures that social media firms are liable for defamatory material hosted on their platforms if that is not removed within a given timeframe.
The Bill aims to strengthen the country’s prevailing social media defamation law and ensure that the perpetrators spreading defamatory material on social media platforms are held responsible and guilty for their actions.
- The Bill empowers the Minister to determine the basic expectations of a social media platform.
- The Minister, while doing so, must consider the importance of the social media services, the harmfulness of defamation, the value of truth and free debate and the significance to prevent social media platforms from being used to carry out unlawful conduct.
- The Minister should also consider the general public’s views and opinions before determining the basic expectations of a social media service.
- The Bill empowers the e-safety Commissioner to ask the social media platforms to prepare reports about the extent to which they have complied with or contravened the basic expectations as determined by the Minister.
- Penalties will apply to the service providers if they fail to meet the reporting requirements.
- The Commissioner will hold power for requesting these reports on a periodic or non-periodic basis. However, the Commissioner won’t be able to request a periodic reporting period of less than six months or more than 24 months.
- On getting satisfied that a service provider has contravened one or more basic expectations for the service, the Commissioner may prepare a statement to that effect and publish it to the Commissioner’s website.
- Under the provisions of the Bill, the general public can complain to the Commissioner on account of being defamed on social media platforms.
- The Commissioner will have the power to issue defamation notices to a service provider based on complaints made to the Commissioner and the Commissioner being satisfied that the material is indeed a defamatory one.
- If the defamatory content is not removed within 48 hours of the issuance of the notice, then the end-user and the service provider will be liable for the defamation.
- The Bill also empowers the end-users to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the decisions made by the Commissioner regarding the defamation.
Human Rights Limitations
The Bill, in a way, limits the right to freedom of speech and the right to privacy of a user who posts material on a social media platform that could be regarded as defamatory.
It is indeed necessary to protect social media users from harassment and abuse. The victims of defamation also hold the right to get legal assistance by consulting defamation solicitors of the country.
The Bill sets out to curb the increase of defamatory content online and empower users to take action against such false accusations. The Defamation Lawyer Perth, WA is a firm providing social media defamation lawyer in Perth and surrounding regions. If you are a victim of defamation, it is suggested to consult a lawyer of calibre.