Experts in the Media

Demelza Leonard – 98.5fm

Marketing Director, Social Media Expert, Music & Pop Culture Expert

Over the past 18 days, social media has been flooded with posts and stories relating to the disappearance of Cleo Smith.

Despite WA Police consistently stating that Cleo’s parents were not suspects in her case. Keyboard warriors continued to leave defamatory comments on social media platforms. In September, the High Court ruled that page owners can be held responsible for defamatory comments, left by their followers. Demelza Leonard, Social Media Expert, joined Mike to explain the new ruling.

What is the new ruling?

A page owner is anyone who runs a social media page. This includes your own personal profile, business or a group. “If you are the owner of the page, you could be liable for any defamatory comments left on your post.” If someone leaves a slanderous comment on your post, as the page owner, you are deemed as facilitating the publication of that comment. As a result, you could be sued or put in front of the court. This ruling applies to all social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Because this ruling is still new, we have not yet seen the full effect, in terms of penalties. But so far it hasn’t stopped keyboard warriors from sharing hurtful comments.

‘I think it has to do with how easy it is to leave an opinion on a page. But that doesn’t mean that opinion is good or kind in nature.”

What can page owners do?

  1. Turn off the comments
  2. Monitor and remove harmful comments
  3. Put together a social media policy

“If anyone comments of a defamatory slanderous or harmful nature towards anyone they will automatically removed and banned from interacting with the page.” This shows people you are willing to take action. If an issue arises you have proof that you don’t acknowledge that behaviour and were actively trying to prevent it.

Let us know you thoughts by texting or messaging us on socials. Listen to the full chat below!

Cleo Smith’s Parents’ Trolls & Facebook Page Legal Woes