In February this year, Ryan Shelley presented an expert report before the NSW Supreme Court in relation to a significant Facebook defamation case. The court case involved Dylan Voller and three of Australia’s largest media organisations. Following a recent Court ruling, Voller has now won his case.
Voller, former Northern Territory youth detainee, had accused the publishers of failing to monitor or hide defamatory Facebook comments made about him by members of the public. This was in response to articles posted on the media organisations’ websites. The publications involved are the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Sky News, The Bolt Report and The Centralian Advocate Fairfax Media (now Nine), Nationwide News and Sky News.
The NSW Supreme Court declared that these organisations were effectively primary publishers of the comments. Therefore they were liable for the comments, securing Voller the win.
As an expert witness in the case, Ryan Shelley spoke about the need for businesses to take greater responsibility for their social media management. Then they can continue to use social channels to good effect.
He said that organisations should always check comments on their social media channels with due diligence. Particularly if they are “media outlets of significant size and with significant available resources”.
With respect to this case, “strategies could have been put in place to allow for a more robust and deliberate attempt at monitoring comments”.
When managed properly, social media is a highly beneficial way for organisations to share news and engage with their audiences. As something to embrace rather than fear, social media can be a real driver or business success.
You can read the full article on the ABC News website.