Defamation by Social Media

Precedent, Vol. 117, pp. 16-21, 2013

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 13/81

8 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2013

See all articles by David Rolph

David Rolph

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: November 17, 2013


Social media have transformed communications, allowing users to generate and disseminate content widely. This carries with it a heightened risk of defamation. Cases involving defamation by social media are starting to be decided by Australian and English courts. This article reviews recent decisions and examines the issues presented by defamation and social media, particularly the anonymity of users and the legal means to overcome it and the liability of internet intermediaries, such as internet service providers and search engines.

Keywords: Defamation, Social media, Australia, United Kingdom, Anonymity, Internet intermediaries, Internet service providers, Search engines, Publication

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Rolph, David, Defamation by Social Media (November 17, 2013). Precedent, Vol. 117, pp. 16-21, 2013; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 13/81. Available at SSRN:

David Rolph (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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