Love it or hate it, Facebook has become a massive part of Australian life.
Latest data from the social media giant shows 15 million Australians have an account. That's 60 per cent of the population.
As a result, it has become a key tool for media companies to share their content and reach as many people as possible. One might liken it to the old-fashioned paper boy shouting headlines on the street.
However, the complex issue of sharing news on Facebook is far more fraught than that of a small boy selling a newspaper on the footpath.
A recent ruling in the New South Wales Supreme Court sent shockwaves through the media landscape in Australia.
In essence, the judge ruled media companies were responsible for other user's comments that appeared on their Facebook pages.
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If a Facebook user was to make a defamatory comment on the Facebook page of a media outlet, it would be ruled that the page had essentially published that comment.
For many, there seems an easy solution: turn the comments off.
Simple? Yes. Physically possible? No.
Public Facebook pages do not have the ability to turn off comments on their posts.
Facebook has made this impossible for years now.
If it was an option, you could guarantee this news outlet (and almost every other throughout the world) would use it when appropriate. It is a change Facebook certainly has the ability to implement.
Unfortunately, however, Facebook comments result in money for the social media giant. More comments result in more time users spend on the site, resulting in greater advertising revenue.
What this fails to take into account is that these comments can lead to not only legally fraught situations, but become a hotbed of negativity. Too often it seems a race to the bottom when it comes to Facebook comments; a place where many reasoned thinkers fear to tread.
To Facebook, we say this: you have the power here to do the right thing, please put sense before the almighty dollar.
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