Social media urged to enforce own rules

Social media urged to enforce own rules
Social media companies have been urged to enforce their own rules after a woman who defamed a federal MP continued to post conspiracy videos.

Karen Brewer has been ordered to pay $875,000 in damages after falsely claiming Nationals MP Anne Webster was part of a secret child sex abuse network.

Brewer is still spouting other conspiracy theories on her YouTube channel.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said while social media platforms claim they are not publishers with editorial control, they do have terms of use.

“One of the things we say very squarely to the social media platforms is enforce your terms of use,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

“We say that in relation to cyberbullying, to unauthorised sharing of intimate images, to all kinds of communications online.”

Federal Court Justice Jacqueline Gleeson ordered Brewer pay the MP $350,000 in damages, her husband $225,000 and the couple’s charity for disadvantaged mums Zoe Support $300,000.

Mr Fletcher said the federal government was working with state counterparts on updating defamation laws relating to online content.

“Any one of us can say something defamatory or abusive or reveal private information about somebody else and make that extremely widely available, at virtually zero cost,” he said.

“Governments around the world are working through – and it’s taken quite some time – all the different policy challenges that that creates.”

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