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High Court confirms Facebook page operators are liable for defamatory third-party comments

Fairfax Media Publications, Nationwide News and the Australian News Channel are currently being sued for defamation in separate proceedings by Dylan Voller, a former detainee in a juvenile justice detention centre, over third-party comments made about him on their Facebook pages.

Before determining whether the Facebook comments were defamatory, the NSW Supreme Court ordered that the question concerning publication be decided separately. On 8 September 2021, the majority of the High Court (5-2) upheld two decisions of the lower courts and confirmed that media companies are liable for defamatory comments left on their social media posts.

W+K’s Nick Lux and Alycia Amanatidis look at this significant decision and the guidance it provides insureds that use social media platforms and their insurers.

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