[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Defamation in a Social World

Can you defame someone on social media? Some notable cases quite clearly demonstrate that those who post in haste will repent at leisure.

Tread carefully

In 2012, writer and TV personality, Maireke Hardy, wrongly identified Joshua Meggitt as the person behind a number of nasty blog posts written about her over a period of five years under the pseudonym ‘James Vincent’.

She named and shamed Meggitt in her own blog, which she tweeted. Meggitt subsequently sued Hardy. The case was settled out of court for an estimated $15,000.

High school scandal

In 2014, high school student Andrew Farley won the dubious honour of being the first person to be successfully sued for a defamatory tweet.

Farley published a number of Facebook posts and tweets about music teacher, Christine Mickle. The posts were in response to Farley’s mistaken belief that Mickle had stolen his father’s job (Farley’s father apparently left his job for health reasons).

Distressed by the posts, Mickle sued Farley for defamation, and was awarded a total of $105,000 in damages. That’s some expensive tweeting.

Farley was devastated by the judgement awarded against him – he didn’t consider that his posts would be anything other than private. Judge Elkaim said:

Where defamatory publications are made on social media, it is common knowledge that they spread. They are spread easily by the simple manipulation of mobile phones and computers. Their evil lies in the grapevine effect that stems from the use of this type of communication.

News not fit to print

Not to be outdone, Fairfax decided to have a crack at former Treasurer, Joe Hockey.

Fairfax published a series of articles rubbishing Hockey, but it was ‘Treasurer for sale’ (a title which was also tweeted) that particularly got Hockey’s goat.

Hockey successfully sued for reputational damage and was awarded $200,000.

Here endeth the lesson.

David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, a fixed fee commercial contract review service. Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.

Learn with SMK through June

Start your SMK: Digital Excellence 7-day free trial today and unlock unlimited, on-demand access to hundreds of hours of digital masterclasses, training courses and hands-on tutorials.

Your risk-free trial offers the perfect opportunity to expand and upgrade your digital intellectual property.

Each month SMK releases 30 hours of new and updated social media and digital marketing educational course content, ensuring you never get left behind – be it on digital strategy, tactics or implementation.

Alongside this, SMK offers live help and support weekly within the SMK Working Group. It might be a quick fix or the root of a bigger problem; either way, a problem shared is a problem halved. On a day-to-day basis, SMK’s team gives you hands-on support and fresh ideas.

Not to mention a shoulder to cry on, occasionally.

June's Courses, Live Help & Support Options

Live Member Clinics every Monday & Tuesday from 1 pm – 2 pm AEST

  • Live help and support from SMK’s team of analysts.
  • Book in to request a personalised discussion for 15 or 30m via Zoom within the Facebook Working Group.

Weekly Technical Labs: Meta Business Suite on Wednesdays from 1 pm – 2 pm AEST

  • Technical Labs explore the technological process and workflows related to key digital marketing activities.

Google Analytics 4, Data Analysis & Evaluation Masterclass on Thursdays from 10 am – 12 pm AEST

  • Module 1: GA4 Optimisation, Key Features, Tools & Reports
  • Module 2: Setting up GA4 Conversions & Understanding Analytics Events
  • Module Three: Analytics campaign tracking and report analysis
  • Module Four: GA4 report round-up, conversion attribution & visualisation

Influencer Marketing Masterclass: Organic, Paid & Commerce on Fridays from 10 am – 12 pm AEST

  • Module 1: 2024 Influencer Marketing Trends, Forecasts & Opportunities
  • Module 2: Organic Influencer Marketing Best Practices
  • Module 3: Optimising Influencer Campaigns With Social Ads
  • Module 4: Evaluation, Reporting and Influencer Commerce

Leave a Comment