Social Media Law

Explaining the Media Bargaining Code

On 18 February 2021, social media company Facebook made the decision to prohibit the publishing and sharing of links (Links) from Australian media companies (News Companies) on the site.  This ban came into effect almost immediately after the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2021 (Cth) (Media Bargaining Code) passed the House of Representatives.  The ban has roadblocked News Companies from 9 News to the Bureau of Meteorology and even the beloved satirical news provider, The Betoota Advocate.  This article analyses the proposals of the Media Bargaining Code and what the legal effect of non-compliance may be. [Read more…]

Emojis used online can be defamatory – watch out!

In the recent New South Wales case of Burrows v Houda [2020] NSWDC 485 , the Court was faced with the difficult question of whether an emoji is capable of having a defamatory meaning.  As the case was a first for Australia, the Court relied upon UK case law, as well as the ordinary definition of ‘emoji’, in considering the meaning behind the emoji used. [Read more…]

$750k damages for fake online reviews

The recent case of Cheng v Lok [2020] SASC 14  (Cheng v Lok) should serve as a warning about the potential severe consequences of posting fake reviews out of spite or to harm a competitor.   In that case the Supreme Court of South Australia awarded $A750,000 in damages to a lawyer whose business was defamed through fake and negative online. [Read more…]

Proposed standards for online safety

In December 2019, the Australian Government released a discussion paper on a proposed “Online Safety Act” (Proposal) for consultation.  The Proposal is intended to combine and coordinate the existing framework into a single piece of legislation, and provide an update in accordance with the changes in the digital landscape.  The Proposal will encourage businesses trading online to take more responsibility for material on their platforms. [Read more…]

Abhorrent violent material prohibited

The Australian Parliament has promptly passed the Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019 (Cth) (Act) according to the Explanatory Memorandum in response to the events of the March 2019 mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.  The Act creates various new sections of the  Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)(Criminal Code) and in particular section 474.33 and 474.34 creates (2) new offences in relation to “internet service providers, content service providers and hosting service providers” (Service Providers) as follows: [Read more…]

ACCC guidance for platform operators

With the advent of sharing economy platforms such as Uber and Airbnb no longer the exclusive realm of millennials, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a guide for Platform Operators in the Sharing Economy (Guide) to advise of their obligations in complying with Australian competition and consumer protection laws.

The Guide is aimed at operators who run online platforms that facilitate the connection of suppliers of goods and services with consumers who need short-term use of those goods or services. [Read more…]

Proposed anti-bullying legislation will target social media giants

The Federal Government is proposing to introduce legislation that will target the publication of offensive or harassing material aimed at children on social media websites.   [Read more…]

ACCC guidance for online user reviews

On the 3 December 2013 the Australian Competition and Consumer Authority (ACCC) released guidelines concerning the use and management of online review platforms. The publication recognises the impact of user-generated comments and business reviews on consumer behaviour. The ACCC was of the view that both positive and negative reviews are susceptible to misuse and have the potential to distort public perception. [Read more…]

Social media rant costs respondent upwards of $350k!

The case of Seafolly Pty Ltd v Madden [2012] FCA 1346 (Seafolly) shows that those using social media for business should think carefully before making statements about competitors, regardless of what they think may have been done to their business. [Read more…]

ACCC guidance on business use of social media

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a guide (Guide) for small and large businesses who engage with ‘existing and potential’ customers using social media.  Whilst seemingly not stating anything new, the ACCC has restated the need for businesses to ensure that statements made about them on social media sites are accurate.

[Read more…]

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