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Calls for legislation overhaul following landmark Facebook ruling

A leading defamation lawyer is calling for an overhaul of Australian laws after a landmark court ruling held media companies responsible for posts on Facebook.

A NSW Supreme Court judge ruled the organisations could be regarded as the publishers of Facebook comments.

Former Northern Territory youth detainee Dylan Voller has sued three media organisations for defamation over a series of claims made about him in the comments section of Facebook posts.

Defamation expert Matt Collins QC says the ruling exposes serious problems.

“This is the first time a media organisation has been found responsible for comments on a Facebook site, so not the media organisation’s site, even before the media organisation had been put on notice for the existence of the comment,” Mr Collins explained on 3AW Breakfast.

“We are completely out of kilter with the rest of the western world on this.

“It’s been cured by legislation in the United States, England, Canada and all sorts of places – just not Australia.”

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