Facebook should be subject to defamation laws as publisher, says Christian Porter

Attorney-General Christian Porter says social media platforms should be treated the same as traditional publishers under defamation law, a change which would present a fundamental new challenge for global companies like Facebook and Twitter.

Mr Porter expressed the view in a speech on Wednesday, declaring the legal environment for traditional media companies was not fair and it was necessary to update defamation law as part of a national review being undertaken by federal and state governments.

Facebook has resisted the label of publisher. Credit:Photo: AP

The Attorney-General said “defamation laws don’t strike the perfect balance between public interest journalism and protecting individuals from reputational harm”. He said there was a need for sensible reform of “great significance” to Australian media.

He highlighted the complex issue of the different legal burdens facing traditional media and digital platforms, including Facebook. He said the new players should be treated the same as the old.


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