Facebook will allow all users, including celebrities, politicians, brands and the media, to determine who can and cannot comment on their posts.
The social media giant announced Wednesday that when people post to Facebook, they will be able to control who comments on the post, from everyone who can view the post, to just those who have been tagged by the profile or page on the post. . . It is similar to a change recently introduced by Twitter to limit who can reply to tweets.
The change comes after a landmark ruling in Australia in 2019, which determined that media companies were responsible for defamatory comments posted by users on companies’ public Facebook pages, leading to companies from means to call for a change in the law, which had put pressure on staff with restraint.
The ruling determined that media companies have the responsibility to pre-moderate comments, but previously there was no way to filter comments posted on Facebook before they were published, unless the administrators of the page used a limited keyword filter. to pick up a word or words and avoid comments. It contains those words that are posted.
While it will mean that each Facebook user will have more control over what is posted on their profiles, the impact will be felt more among media organizations and other high-profile public pages that have had trouble moderating comments on Facebook posts. on its pages.
The Supreme Court of New South Wales ruled in 2019 that several Australian media companies were responsible for defamatory comments posted by users on their Facebook pages in response to news articles.
Dylan Voller, whose mistreatment at the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Juvenile Detention Center led to a royal commission, had sued the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the central defender, Sky News Australia and the Bolt report for more than 10 comments on their Facebook pages in response. to news articles about him between 2016 and 2017.
An appeal from the ruling was upheld last year, and the court found that the media had “sufficient control” over the removal of posts when they realized they were defamatory.
Since then, media companies have been advised to use significant resources to moderate comments or to refrain from publishing articles that could attract potentially libelous comments in response.
Media companies had sought this change from Facebook as part of the Australian government’s media bargaining code legislation, which was passed by parliament last month. The exposure draft of the legislation contained a section that required platforms like Facebook to allow news companies to moderate comments, but this was removed from the legislation when it was presented to parliament.
ABC told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its submission to the bill that without comment moderation tools “media organizations may be forced to withdraw from the use of some of these products and / or increase the moderation of resources to mitigate legal risks incurred as a result of being on the platform ”.
SBS told parliament that news media companies “are subject to significant legal risk with respect to user-generated content, including comments on social media posts, which means that the ability to manage these functions is Increasingly important.
The broadcaster said it had to “substantially increase its investment in social media moderation, particularly for news and current affairs content.”
“With the ability to disable comments, this investment could be redirected to additional trusted news content for the public.”
Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg recently wrote a 5,000-word essay aimed at addressing recent criticisms of its newsfeed algorithm for creating echo chambers and increasing polarization in society, most notably on the documentary of Netflix, The Social Dilemma.
Clegg argued that Facebook’s actions showed that the company was not actively encouraging the sharing of sensational content to keep people on the platform. He said Facebook “reduces the distribution” of content that is considered sensational, misleading “or that requests participation for free.
Websites that also have a disproportionately large amount of traffic coming from Facebook were also downgraded, Clegg said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism