Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Liability for other people's comments.....

A number of owners and blogs allow any person to post anything that pops into their minds even if the statement is defamatory and quite untrue in the misguided belief that different rules apply to social media.

Thus over the past few years, more-and-more credible sites have begun vetting readers comments if not just disabling the feature altogether.

But what does the law say?

Please be so kind as to take note of the following:

In the matter of DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH V RAYAN SOOKNUNAN the facts are briefly that Mr Sooknunan put up a Facebook page which was then exploited by members of the public to post inflammatory and defamatory content directed at the church.

The Church brought proceedings against Sooknunan to cease and desist, as well as for damages incurred.

Sooknunans defence was that he was not responsible for content as he had not posted it.

The Court ruled that as Sooknunan was responsible for the Facebook page and allowed such defamatory content to be posted, based on his control of the site, he was liable for the defamation of the church.

It follows that any party who controls a page, blog, Internet home page, Facebook page etc., is not only responsible for own content, but all content posted to such a page.

It is therefore critical to monitor all content, regardless of origin, edit and remove all unwanted /content.

Thus the owner of the blog, Facebook page, and so forth, is deemed to to in agreement with the post made and is thus liable for such post.

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