Be careful what you write on Facebook! Adelaide teenager Christopher Cross has recently been convicted for criminal defamation after posting material about a local policeman on a Facebook site. Cross said that he “didn’t realise you could get in trouble for things on the internet ”. Pleading guilty in the Kadina Magistrates Court to criminal defamation, Cross became only the second person in South Australia ever convicted of the rarely used charge. He now has a criminal record and was sentenced to a 2 year good behaviour bond.
The message for Cross and any other users of social media is that although anyone can publish material on social media, the laws that apply to traditional media will still apply. Social media is published in real time and the posts are often permanent.