Facebook in hot water down under

The Australians have had a gutsful of Facebook stuffing up trials down under.

The problems between social media and the judicial system flared in the days after the arrest of the man charged with the murder and rape of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher.

Facebook was accused of stuffing up the chances of a successful prosecution and the accused man’s right to a fair trial by hosting pages that incited hatred against the man charged.

Victoria’s Attorney-General has warned the social networking site that it could face legal action if it failed to remove material that could jeopardise legal trials.

The warning could also apply to the UK and other parts of the world which has the same legal system.

Robert Clark warned that Facebook would face legal action if it did not take down material that influenced a person’s right to a fair trial.

Taking on radio station 3AW  he said that there are procedures between different jurisdictions for the execution and enforcement of court orders if Facebook does not do as it is told.

He said he wanted to get some clear guidelines that are workable for them but protect the community and do not prejudice fair trials.


Jurors also need to be “properly warned about ignoring prejudicial material that might come to their attention”.

Social media users who posted prejudicial material could face charges, but it was acknowledged there are “huge practical difficulties” in doing this.