[LINK] SMH: 'Man sues Twitter over hate blog'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Fri Feb 17 08:01:08 AEDT 2012

Man sues Twitter over hate blog
Michelle Griffin
February 17, 2012

TWITTER is being sued for defamation for the first time under Australian law.

Joshua Meggitt, the Melbourne man wrongly named by writer and 
television identity Marieke Hardy as the author of a hate blog 
dedicated to her, is now suing Twitter.

Mr Meggitt's lawyer, Stuart Gibson, served a legal notice yesterday 
on the San Francisco-based social media giant, a company valued last 
year at $US7 billion ($6.5 billion), as the publisher of a tweet by 
Ms Hardy last November. Her tweet read: ''I name and shame my 
'anonymous' internet bully. Liberating business! Join me,'' with a 
link to her blog where she incorrectly named Mr Meggitt as the author 
of ''ranting, hateful'' articles about her.

It was a tweet seen around the world and now Ms Hardy has reached a 
confidential legal settlement with Mr Meggitt, believed to be about 
$15,000, and published an apology on her blog. His lawyers are also 
seeking damages from the social media site where the original 
defamation had the greatest exposure.

The original tweet appeared on Twitter's homepage, and was copied by 
some of Ms Hardy's 60,897 followers and other Twitter users taking 
part at the time in a worldwide online anti-abuse campaign. Many also 
commented on the original post in ways that could be construed as 

''Twitter are a publisher, and at law anyone involved in the 
publication can be sued,'' Mr Gibson said. ''We're suing for the 
retweets and the original tweet.''

While it is widely believed Twitter cannot be sued, Mr Gibson cited 
the landmark 2002 High Court case where Melbourne mining magnate 
Joseph Gutnick won the right to sue US business news publisher Dow 
Jones in Victoria under Australian law, rather than in the US.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law               University of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

More information about the Link mailing list