Friday, April 22, 2011

exclusive : Defamation Case to Be Launched Against Zuckerberg & Facebook

The Shuttle has seen some of the legal papers but we cannot reveal the name of the litigant. This is going to be a biggie though.

A Melbourne based celebrity and high profile figure is to launch a massive defamation case in the Australian and other courts against Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

He/she claims they have almost been driven  mad and to despair by a facebook page set up in their name and only just brought to their attention after 18 months, which contains dozens of defamation's and libelous posts by the approximately 1000 'friends'.

And we aren't talking just personal insults here which this person could wear-we mean viscous nasty rumours of extra-marital affairs, involvement in murder and all sorts of illegal activities.

Our anonymous litigant has a Sydney and a Melbourne QC itching to take on the Internet giant and one of the countries top law firms working pro bono. They intend launching actions in the English, US and Australian courts simultaneously. They also intend to ask a British court to suppress the name  of the litigant because of the nature of the falsehoods which they say may be authored annonymously but are published by facebook.

We have been told that the law firm and both barristers has been appalled by a recent case of a  facebook page that named a deceased child on which pornographic images were posted and the seemingly lax attitude of the facebook managers, and the way in which British anti-child abuse campaigners were continually rebuffed when trying to get a 'panic button' installed for kids. That lawyer claims facebook only acts at the last moment and after considerable pressure and only then , when it feels it may receive bad publicity.

Further-the law firm says it has now been requesting via the normal facebook channels to have the offending pages removed and have basically met a brick wall.

"Facebook is one of the most troubling internet websites at the moment " says one lawyer "It operates under that hoary old claim of 'freedom of speech' which is a cover for the freedom to insult, libel ,defame and humiliate. It offers the most illusory but dangerous feeling of security in that people feel they are reaching out to find friends when the very opposite could be happening. There are stories of vunerable teens committing suicide after hate messages being posted. There are media releases galore from facebook saying they will solve these problems but it's just words in the end"
If successful this could open the floodgates against facebook. It could rival the famous case in 2002 when diamond merchant Joseph Gutnick launched a successful libel action against Dow Jones in a Melbourne court which basically changed the rules.