‘Their Evil Lies in the Grapevine Effect’: Assessment of Damages in Defamation by Social Media

Media and Arts Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 367-379, 2015

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/61

13 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2016  

Michael Douglas

The University of Western Australia Law School

Date Written: July 19, 2016

Abstract

The number of cases of defamation by social media is growing. This article examines the principles of assessment of damages as they apply to those cases. In particular, the article examines the concept of the ‘grapevine effect’: a metaphor used to explain the basis for recovery of general damages for defamation. The grapevine effect has been deployed to notable effect in recent cases of publication by social media. The article argues that the role of the ‘grapevine effect’ reflects the purposes of awards of damages for defamation in light of the unique characteristics of social media.

Keywords: Defamation, damages, grapevine effect, social media, Facebook, Twitter, internet

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Douglas, Michael, ‘Their Evil Lies in the Grapevine Effect’: Assessment of Damages in Defamation by Social Media (July 19, 2016). Media and Arts Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 367-379, 2015; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/61. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2811967

Michael Douglas (Contact Author)

The University of Western Australia Law School ( email )

M253
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.web.uwa.edu.au/person/michael.c.douglas

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