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Australian Agency Rules Facebook Pages Responsible For Comments 141

jibjibjib writes "The Australian reports that brands in Australia could be forced to abandon their social media campaigns, after the Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that they were responsible for comments posted on their pages. According to the article, the ASB is poised to release a report attacking Carlton & United Breweries for derogatory comments posted on one of their official Facebook pages, despite CUB monitoring and removing those comments twice daily. Legal expert John Swinson commented on the decision, saying 'You simply can no longer have two-way conversations with your customers.'"
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Australian Agency Rules Facebook Pages Responsible For Comments

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  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThunderBird89 ( 1293256 ) <zalanmeggyesi AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:10AM (#40892745)

    Why should anyone share responsibility for what you say? In the same vein, should the local government, the builder company and the maker of a cardboard box be responsible for anything I shout while standing on said box on a street corner? Is London responsible for whatever anyone says on Speakers' Corner?

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:35AM (#40892857) Homepage Journal

    This is just the worst that comes out of courtrooms.

    Think about it - you start a business, it doesn't even have to be big or anything, maybe you are giving advice, maybe you are selling toy airplanes, hell, maybe you are giving away toy airplanes (I don't know why I chose airplanes here), and somebody posts comments on your forum that are 'derogatory'.

    Well those comments just may be derogatory, but how can the person hosting the forum be held responsible for derogatory comments made by other people?

    What about /.? It's a business, after all, people are getting paid to run it, there are ads here (I think), so what would happen if /. was held personally responsible for all the derogatory shit that people spill here?

    "Fuck nigger cocksucker dyke blow me." - so somebody leaves comments like that or whatever on a forum and all of a sudden a person or a business hosting it is responsible and is liable to all sorts of lawsuits.

    THAT stifles innovation. THAT prevents innovative people from starting businesses that rely on new ideas how to promote their business, it sure HELPS the monopolies (and that's how monopolies are created - with government interference in the market in the first place, and this IS government interference with the market, and this will prevent innovation and stifle competition and help monopolies).

    ALL basic freedoms are important to have a vibrant economy, freedom of speech, association, private property ownership, speedy trial, not being thrown in jail without a trial, not being harassed by the government, etc.

    Take one of those freedoms out and you stop the economy from innovating, and this is important. Think about the Mars mission with Curiosity. Is it important to have a vibrant economy to be able to freaking afford a mission like that? Is Zimbabwe running a mission like that?

  • Re:Good on them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by million_monkeys ( 2480792 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:44AM (#40892883)

    I am an Aussie and I am glad if this will get these companies off facebook and run their own services. I am sick and tired of companies blackmailing their customers for a "like" to get their advertising.

    Well now you've got a way to blackmail them back. If they force you to 'like' their page, just hop over and post a comment describing how their product is the perfect way to give people the energy needed to oppress minorities (or whatever it is that will get them in trouble). Then file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. Be sure to send a note to the company letting them know that you'll stop if they stop.

  • Re:Good on them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:49AM (#40892903)

    What you think "opressing minorities" would be considered a negative in australia. Boy do you have some things to learn about this messed up country.....

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThunderBird89 ( 1293256 ) <zalanmeggyesi AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:52AM (#40892909)

    Then please do quote the applicable clause from the Facebook terms and conditions.

    Social responsibility is not legally enforceable. Not following it may mean you're an asshole, and people may not use your services. This certainly doesn't seem to be the case with Facebook, so I think it's safe to say people do not give a shit about social responsibility.
    As for who takes responsibility? The commenter, naturally. Again, who takes responsibility for something you say on Speakers' Corner, who gets arrested for hate speech? You or Boris Johnson?

  • Re:Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarwinSurvivor ( 1752106 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @06:48AM (#40893079)
    "Your comment has been held for moderation". There, see, that wasn't so hard now was it? If they are going to delete offensive comments every 12 hours, why not instead approve the non-offensive ones every 12 hours?
  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ginger Unicorn ( 952287 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @07:32AM (#40893223)

    Because that way everyone has to wait 12 hours to post a comment, rendering realtime conversation impossible, and facebook have to run a (maybe impossibly) massive moderation team to process every single post, whereas the other way they have a much smaller team that just responds to complaints/flags from other users.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 ( 1053110 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:21AM (#40893877)

    I think it's more like a drinking establishment getting shut down due to what some delinquent teenager spray paints on the front of their building. At least the bar would have an option to stop and prevent entry to troublemakers before hand. With Facebook particularly, there is no way to prevent someone from 'liking' and posting on a business wall until they have done something that lets you determine they are troublemakers, which is after-the-fact.

    If Facebook were to add a 'poster quality' feature by which business sites can add some sort of 'troll rating' to a person and use that to predetermine if they can just like and comment willy-nilly, then it could be more fair. That's totally just going to be abused and gamed somehow, though.

    But I digress, it is the responsibility of the prosecuting agency to manage what is and isn't objectionable content, not that of the people who are the victims of said content.

  • Re:Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:39AM (#40894021) Journal

    Social web sites are a communication medium.

    Actually, they're more of a publishing and advertising medium. You can use them for communication (ie sending private messages), but you can't compare hosting a public message on a social website to telephone communications. By that logic you could say television broadcasters are protected by the same common-carrier rules as telephone companies. That's just ridiculous.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford