Social Media Monitoring

QANTAS has recently come under fire for the appearance of pornographic material on its Facebook page, which was unfortunately stumbled-upon by an 8-year-old child using his father’s iPad.

By way of background, comments on Facebook pages were held to be subject to the Trade Practices Act 1974 in the case of Seafolly v Madden [2012] FCA 1346.Furthermore, in the case of ACCC v Allergy Pathways Pty Ltd (No 2) [2011] FCA 74(Allergy Pathways), the publication of comments by third-party ‘fans’ on a company’s Facebook page was attributed to the company when it knew of the comments and decided not to remove them after more than two months.

Not only have the Courts considered third party content on Facebook pages, the Advertising Standards Bureau has also decided that Facebook content is governed by the Advertisers Code of Ethics.

The courts have not made any direct statements in regards to the amount of time offensive material may appear on Facebook pages and other similar social media outlets before it can be deemed published by the page-owner.

In light of the above, should a dispute resembling this situation with QANTAS arise in the future, it is likely the court will have consideration to the size of the company, the seriousness of the offending material and the facts and circumstances of each matter.

In the QANTAS matter, it was argued that 7 –9 hours delay in removing the offensive content was unacceptable given the company operates internationally, implying that they should have a content-monitoring policy in place 24/7.If this matter was ever to proceed to court, it is unlikely the courts would hold companies to such a strict time limitation.


  • Third party content posted to your social media outlets will be deemed to be published by you, if it remains on your social media outlet for a period of time.
  • You should regularly monitor your social media outlets, including any blogs on your website, and consider having terms and conditions which provide for the ability to remove, redact and monitor such 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.