Social media slurs could put Facebook in the courts under defamation push

Attorney-General Christian Porter wants an even playing field between online platforms and traditional publishers around defamation.

Like newspapers, sites likes Facebook and Twitter deliver content to audiences and obtain advertising revenue.

Individual publishers, not Facebook, are currently liable for comments made on Facebook pages they manage.

Social media companies should face the same defamation laws as traditional media outlets, Commonwealth Attorney-General Christian Porter has said.

Mr Porter's statement could have major consequences for companies such as Facebook and Twitter, which are used by millions of Australians. "The playing field between digital platforms and mainstream media is completely uneven," he told the National Press Club in Canberra. "That is something that needs to be dealt with as urgently as possible as a matter of reform. "Defamation laws allow people and some organisations to sue over comments that damage their reputations.

Mr Porter said any changes to the law would need to "sensibly" take into account the huge volume of material published online.

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