Jurisdiction - Australia
Australia – Companies May Be Held Liable for User-Generated Posts On Facebook Pages.

18 November, 2012


Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Australia – TMT


User-generated content on a company's Facebook page has been held by the Advertising Standards Board ("ASB") as being advertising by the company and consequently such posts must comply with Australia's advertising codes.


The decision stems from a recent complaint to the ASB that fan posts on the Victorian Bitter Facebook page contained discriminatory and obscene language. Victorian Bitter's owner, Carlton and United Breweries, did not pre-vet user comments or moderate them in real-life; however it did have rules for fans posting on its page and a procedure for moderating user comments. Whilst Carlton and United Breweries argued that it was not responsible for user comments, the ASB found that the advertising codes apply given Carlton and United Breweries did have a reasonable degree of control over the comments.

The ASB decision is a departure from recent overseas decisions that held companies were not responsible for such material, unless for example, marketers used user comments in their own advertising, for example, by re-tweeting posts (as seen in a recent decision by the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority). 

View the Case Report


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