Defama­tion is trend­ing

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News - Jes­sica Nico

A QUAR­TER of the world's pop­u­la­tion use so­cial me­dia sites like Face­book and Twit­ter, but as peo­ple spend more time pub­lish­ing their thoughts on­line, an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple be­ing sued for defama­tion has en­sued.

Once con­sid­ered un­com­mon in law cir­cles, defama­tion cases have be­come more fre­quent as peo­ple post com­ments, both good and bad, on so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Ac­cord­ing to Univer­sity of Notre Dame law lec­turer Jac­ques Du­ven­hage, so­cial me­dia has be­come a grow­ing part of daily life.

“This is caus­ing an in­flux of defama­tion cases and nu­mer­ous law firms have stated that they have re­ceived more defama­tion cases re­gard­ing so­cial me­dia in the past couple of years,” he said.

Mr Du­ven­hage said a 2013 case in the NSW dis­trict court showed how so­cial me­dia was the cat­a­lyst for a law­suit af­ter a high school teacher re­ceived $105,000 in dam­ages when it was found a for­mer stu­dent made false al­le­ga­tions about her on Face­book and Twit­ter.

It was the first so­cial me­dia defama­tion case in Aus­tralia to be heard at a full trial.

“The dan­ger with so­cial me­dia comes when peo­ple dis­play their emo­tions on plat­forms which could reach any au­di­ence across the globe be­fore re­al­is­ing the con­se­quences it might have,” Mr Du­ven­hage said.

“Peo­ple need to think care­fully and be un­am­bigu­ous when they post on so­cial me­dia and they should stay calm and not post when they are in an emo­tional state.

“Com­mu­ni­ties should be made aware of the se­vere im­pli­ca­tions which so­cial me­dia can bring about.”

For the full in­ter­view with Jac­ques Du­ven­hage, visit HAVE YOUR SAY Add your com­ment at­mu­ni­

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