Google Ordered to Pay Australian Politician Over Defamation

Google Ordered to Pay Australian Politician Over Defamation

A court in Australia ordered Google to pay a former politician A$715,000 on Monday after finding that the tech giant’s refusal to take down a YouTuber’s “unlawful” and “offensive” material forced him from politics.

The videos in question have more than 800,000 views since being uploaded in 2020 and are said to have influenced the politician’s decision to retire from politics.

The decision reinstates the issue of how much responsibility tech firms have for defamation conveyed by users on their websites. Australia is one of the few Western countries where online platforms are held to the same responsibility as publishers.

The legal exposure of websites that publish defamatory material is under review in Australia. In 2021, a court ruled that a newspaper was liable for harmful reader comments posted on its Facebook page, prompting global businesses to scale back their social media presence in the country.

This decision showed that Google had said the videos did not contain any false information and that the YouTuber was allowed to have an honest opinion and should be free to criticize a politician.

As of April 2022, Google accounts for almost 94% of the search engine market in Australia.

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