News website deserves a slap for its hate-filled commentards
Hands up everyone who thought this article was going to be about the Daily Mail
Fining a news website for offensive article comments posted by its readers is not a violation of the freedom of expression, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday. Delfi, one of the largest news websites in Estonia, had argued that the authorities were wrong to hold it accountable for rather rude user-submitted …
Mr coder, sometimes comments here can get a bit feisty but nowhere near the level implied by the article.
Besides, just because you don't see a comment doesn't mean it wasn't written. There is a frisson of moderation around here. If I had to guess, then there's a blacklist of various sorts (If commentard=="eadon" or ip_in_set(naughty_people) or word_in_lists(naughty_defamatory_interesting) etc etc) and a greylist consisting of whoever's turn it is to actually read comments and approve them. I don't think it's any more complex than that but then as I said above: what you don't see ...
I think you are correct regarding current UK law.
However, in the case of the Reg, they do apply some light moderation, and therefore would probably be deemed liable for abusive comments. Thankfully, they do tend to jump on ad-hominem attacks and outright abusive posts, so content like that in the case mentioned wouldn't last long.
I'm not sure if that's true, and I seem to remember things have changed relatively recently as well anyway. It's confusing keeping up with a moving target, even in a field I'm supposedly expert on (which this isn't).
But I think the time element is very important too. If you get a complaint or request to remove something, then you're definitely in trouble if you don't do so in a timely manner. So you may decide that the complaint is unreasonable, but in that case you're now effectively accepting liability for said comment, defending it, and up for punishment if it's found to be defamatory. So I guess most publishers will take the easy route, and delete any comment they get a complaint about. It's far cheaper to hit delete than it is to pay a lawyer for an opinion, let alone actually fight the case.
I seem to recall there's also some ruling that once you edit any comments, or have any moderation policy, then you're accepting liability for everything. Although this defence probably doesn't get you off if someone complains about a comment and you don't take it down. Although surely at that point, you've just started a moderation policy?
I'm so glad I'm not a lawyer...
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