You are liable for third party content on your social media outlets

Many companies now have their own Facebook page or Twitter account and use the same for marketing, branding and advertising its product and services. Nevertheless, these social media outlets can become a legal liability if they are not properly monitored.

The Advertising Standards Board has held that the Advertiser Code of Ethics and Australian Consumer Law not only apply to content posted on a company’s social media outlet, but it also applies to third party content which is posted on the same.

The concept of companies being held liable for third party content originated from the case of Byrne v Deane [1937] KB 818. In this case, an individual posted a defamatory piece of paper on a wall in a golf club. Although the golf club was aware of the piece of paper, it did not take any steps to remove it and consequently, it was held that the failure to remove the piece of paper was considered to be taking part in the publication of it. This legal precedent has now been applied to online social media. In the case of ACCC v Allergy Pathways Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 74, it was held that third party content posted to a social media outlet will result in the company becoming the publisher of the said content if the company becomes aware of the content, and fails to remove it from its social media outlet.


  • You should regularly monitor and your social media outlets; and
  • It is highly recommended that you have professionally drafted Terms and Conditions of Use for your website so if your company is held liable for third party content, then you may be able to seek indemnification against the individual who posted the content.

Mr Murdock of our office holds a Juris Doctor in International Trade Law and a Masters of Laws in International Business Transactions from The Netherlands. If you are looking for an international lawyer to represent you in drafting international contracts or representation in arbitrations, feel free to contact us for a free consultation on (02) 9262 5495 or (03) 8899 7870; visit our WebsiteLike our Facebook Page; or join our Employment Law Mailing List.

This article is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All articles found on this website are intended to provide informative information, nevertheless, in many instances legislation and case law has been simplified and/or paraphrased. If you would like personal legal advice based on your current circumstances, you should contact MurdockCheng Legal Practice for a free consultation.