Stopping Social Media abuse

How do you challenge Facebook after they refuse to take down offending and illegal material?  I am sure this is already a common problem for people and one the will only increase as social media and the internet invades our privacy even more.

We have seen it in New Zealand over the recent streaming of a video of a racist terrorist filming his attack on local Mosques. Facebook took 50 hours to take the video down. Governments around the world are looking at stricter regulations to control this kind illegal and offensive material. But what can we do when it affects us – and is not of international or nation interest?

Facebook has its own complaints procedure (“Report this link”) which you can use to point out legal and defamatory statements.  If nothing happens you or your lawyer can write directly to Facebook head office notifying them of the infringing material.  If no action is taken then further correspondence might point out that as they have been notified of the infringing material, and failed to remove it, they would be joined to any defamation or other proceedings that might issue.

What you are relying on is s27 of the Defamation Act 2009 .  Section 27 of the Defamation Act refers to the Defence of innocent publication. If someone has been told of the defamation then they cannot rely on the fact that did not know it was a defamatory statement.

You can point out to Facebook that they could be liable if they are told of a breach and refuse to do anything about it.  More importantly, you can refer to the fact that they could also be liable for Court costs if proceedings have to issue to stop the defamation. Perhaps Facebook and similar organisations will be more responsive once the Courts make a ruling – or more importantly – impose penalties for such cases.

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