Australian court orders Google to compensate politician for defamation
The social media platform has been directed to pay A$715,000
In a landmark judgment, the Federal Court of Australia has ordered Google to pay politician John Barilaro a whopping amount as compensation for defamation.
The court determined that the YouTube videos from content creator Jordan Shanks, popularly known as 'friendlyjordies,' had called Barilaro "corrupt" and mocked his Italian heritage. This meant violating Australia's defamation laws.
The court ruled that Shanks' statements led to "relentless, racist, vilificatory, abusive, and defamatory" attacks on social media. This led to the politician retiring from active politics.
The judgment read, "I accept Mr. Barilaro's evidence of the traumatic impacts on him of Google's conduct in permitting the videos to remain online when knowing of their content and their nature. Google's conduct in keeping the videos online was an essential aspect to assist Mr. Shanks in his campaign. It has been a direct cause of driving Mr. Barilaro prematurely from public office and bringing him into public hatred, ridicule and contempt."
While prior to the judgment, Shanks and Barilaro had settled their initial lawsuit in the politician's case against Google, the new judgment accused Shanks of "what appears to be serious contempt of court by bringing improper pressure… not to pursue this proceeding."
Incidentally, Australia is one of the few countries where social media platforms can be held liable for defamatory posts on their websites.