The regulation of defamatory content has progressively developed over time. The ease and accessibility of the internet means that potentially defamatory content is becoming increasingly widespread on social media outlets and online discussion forums. With this increase, comes the need for greater regulatory responses that will reduce online defamation.
Recent academic debate queries the level of responsibility that online intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and search engines (such as Google) should bear for defamatory content and whether they should in fact be held liable for any defamatory content passing through their networks or are hosted on them. The age-old debate of the difficulties of regulating the internet provides for the contextual struggles in imposing liabilities on online intermediaries yet is a good start in reducing libellous content online.
This Insight explores the extent to which online intermediaries should be responsible when hosting defamatory content and compare Australia’s response to that of the US, the EU and Canada.