Social Media Use & Abuse

Social Media is without a doubt one of the fastest growing and most heavily utilised forms of Internet Communication Technology. While such a technology is praised by most, it can often be cursed by many.

Facebook and Twitter are two of many Social Media giants. Membership between the two platforms is estimated to be somewhere between 1.6 and 1.7 billion active users (calculated monthly)[1]. These numbers will continue to grow at exponential rates as access to smartphones becomes more widespread as well as the age at which children begin to utilise Social Media steadily descends.

Recently, a case in New Zealand has illuminated the importance of responsible Internet and Social Media use. In this case, it is said that the aggrieved New Zealand resident will take action against a woman who alleged that he touched his grandson inappropriately via a post on Facebook[2].

Predating this case, an Australian teacher was awarded $105,000 in damages ($85,000 compensatory & $20,000 in aggravated damages)[3] for comments made on Twitter that defamed her. The offender, a Mr Farley, was a 20 year old at the time of the offense, and clearly had no understanding or respect for the importance of one’s Reputation and the consequences of falsely impugning someone.

It’s undoubtedly evident that the internet has created a new class of publishers. Gone are the days where the only publications were print news or broadcasted. We are now seeing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram “famous” people, distributing messages to their 500,000 strong social following at the click of a button; such widespread and quick distribution that news outlets could never achieve. It’s unlikely, whether you are “instafamous” or not, that you consider the legal consequences of posting a photo that may or may not dishonour or damage the reputation of another, especially when the spread of your post could be throughout several different nations with thousands of unknown viewers.

The take-home message is this: When using Social Media, use common sense – and remember that anything untrue and without defence could result in more than just a “dislike”.

If you or someone you know is the victim of Online Defamation, be it on a website or Social Media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, be sure to advise them to seek advice accordingly, as there are many options available to them. If you wish to alleviate the damage caused by defamatory internet posts, we are able to assist you by disabling and removing such posts, immediately ceasing the circulation and damage.

Published by Internet Removals, Gold Coast. More information contact Internet Removals on 1300 039 196. 

[1] Num,. (2015). Facebook: monthly active users 2015 | Statistic. Statista. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

[2] KERR, F. (2015). Grandad to sue Facebook poster. Stuff. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/72121886/grandfather-to-take-defamation-suit-against-facebook-poster

[3] News, T., & The tweet that cost $105, 0. (2014). The tweet that cost $105,000. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/the-tweet-that-cost-105000-20140304-341kl.html