Facebook Page admins to get a new defense against defamation as part of proposed reforms

“This means taking steps to remove, block, disable or otherwise prevent access by some or all individuals to the matter,” the paper reads.

“It is intended that these steps are appropriate in the circumstances given the ability of the internet intermediary to do so in relation to the specific publication. The burden of proving that adequate measures to prevent access have been taken lies with the intermediary.”

According to an alternative proposal, a plea of ​​”innocent dissemination” would be possible under certain circumstances.

This proposal would not provide intermediaries with an automatic defense or safe haven if a complainant could identify the poster, but would be available to intermediaries if they have an easily accessible complaints procedure in place and take steps to do so within 14 days of a complaint to prevent access to the material.

“If the internet intermediary, after receiving a valid Complaint Notice, decides not to take reasonable measures to prevent access (and leaves the matter online), it has the opportunity to defend the matter with all other defenses in defamation law at its disposal,” it reads in the newspaper.

Written submission of proposals ends on September 9th.

The paper also considers changing the law to offer other internet intermediaries like Google new protections. The High Court is set to rule next week on search engine liability for defamatory search results.

“Technology has come in leaps and bounds since Australia’s unified defamation laws were drafted 18 years ago,” Speakman said in a statement on Friday.

“Almost anyone can post their views to a variety of platforms with the click of a screen or a button.

“The real question is when will search engines like Google, social media platforms like Meta, and a whole host of other internet intermediaries be held accountable for content posted by users.

“In considering this reform, it is critical that we balance the protection of freedom of expression with the right of individuals to seek redress, in reasonable circumstances, for harm done to their reputation.”

State and territory attorneys general agreed to consider legislative changes “no later than the end of 2022.”

Defamation law is the responsibility of states and territories and requires the consent of all jurisdictions to ensure that the laws remain consistent.

A first tranche of defamation reforms began on July 1 last year in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, and later in Tasmania, and included a new public interest defense. Western Australia has not yet adopted the changes.

The Morning Edition Newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here. Facebook Page admins to get a new defense against defamation as part of proposed reforms

Joel McCord

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