High Court finds news outlets responsible for third-party Facebook comments

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 8 September 2021

The High Court has dismissed an appeal by major Australian media outlets, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, finding they are liable for third-party comments made on their public Facebook pages.

Dylan Voller, a former detainee in a Northern Territory youth detention centre, is seeking to sue Fairfax Media, now owned by Nine, Nationwide News and Sky News over alleged defamatory comments made on their Facebook pages.

The NSW Supreme Court previously ruled that the media outlets were the primary publishers of third-party comments on their social media pages.

The publishers challenged this finding in the High Court.

However, today the High Court found that the media outlets were publishers of third-party comments.

"... The acts of the appellants in facilitating, encouraging and thereby assisting the posting of comments by the third-party Facebook users rendered them publishers of those comments," the High court says.

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