Twitter has forced the defamation act to go back to the drawing board, and the new version offers improved defence for website operators who host user-generator content. The new act states that operators will not be liable if they can show that they did not ‘post’ an offending statement, so Facebook users and Twitter users do get an element of protection.
Second publishers are also defended in a way, and this is because regurgitated content is fine in cases where it is not ‘reasonably practicable’ for the claimant to pursue the primary publisher. Courts also now have the power to remove any harmful material, but of course this can become uncontrollable in some cases where content has been shared too many times.
The new defamation act is not a complete overhaul but it has some important tweaks, and these may be welcomed by many Titter and Facebook users.