The Letters Editor
GPO Box 4162
SYDNEY NSW 2001
The ramifications for publishers of Facebook and other online pages (‘Facebook ruling a legal minefield’, The Australian 9/9/2021) may not be all bad. The High Court ruling that publishers of sites attached to their platforms are responsible for published content could be managed quite simply. All that might be required during is for organisations to designate a moderator or moderating staff who expunge comments that are defamatory or licentious in nature.
Individuals who have Facebook pages should also accept moderating responsibility. Facebook and other sites already allow page owners to bar persons whose comments are unacceptable. It would be easy for platform providers to cancel the publishing rights of those deemed to be inappropriate users – as happened with Donald Trump.
Media groups are already halfway there. If I write a comment and attach it to story in one of the Newscorp papers, it is accepted under the heading ‘pending’ (publication) and not attached to the correspondence thread unless it is acceptable.
Moderation is already being practised by media on some of its platforms. The High Court ruling simply extends the principle of publishing accountability to include responsibility for entries published on sites under its masthead.
9 September 2021