CNN quits Facebook in Australia, citing defamation risk By Reuters
By Byron Kaye
SYDNEY (Reuters) – CNN said it has stopped posting articles on Australian Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:) pages, citing a court ruling that publishers are liable for defamation in public comments and the social media firm’s refusal to help it disable comments in the country.
The move makes CNN, which is owned by AT&T Inc (NYSE:), the first major news organisation to pull its Australian Facebook presence since the country’s high court ruled this month that publishers were legally responsible for comments posted below stories – even if the stories themselves were not defamatory.
While CNN doesn’t feature in Australian media consumption, it could be a significant player if other outlets follow its lead.
CNN reported that Facebook refused to assist CNN or other publishers in disabling public comments within the country after the ruling.
CNN spokeswoman, a statement said that “we are disappointed that Facebook has once again failed to ensure its platform remains a place of credible journalism, and productive dialogue about current events among its user.”
CNN Australia will still publish content, according to her.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, recent Australian court cases had highlighted the need for reforms in Australian defamation laws and that the company was looking forward to more clarity and certainty.
The spokesperson stated that while it is not the place of Facebook to give legal advice to CNN, they have given them the most recent information about tools we provide to publishers to manage comments.
Facebook claims it offers several tools that allow publishers as well as other users to limit who may comment on comments. CNN and it did not provide details about the discussion that lead to CNN’s decision.
According to figures from the industry, social media has become a key channel for content distribution in Australia. About two-thirds (25 million) of its population use Facebook. A University of Canberra report found that about 33% of Australians used Facebook for news sources in 2021.
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