The Australian media can steal your Facebook photographsAfter publishing photographs of a deceased person, pulled from their Facebook tribute page, and the image, comments and name of a fourteen year old boy, Chanel Seven came under investigation by Australia's broadcasting Authority ACMA.
However the regulatory body has now ruled that Chanel Seven did not break Commercial Television Industry Code of Conduct by using these images, and comments, given the public nature of the Facebook pages from which they were taken.
The death of Kim Jong Il, and the subsequent slew of articles chronicling the Twittersphere's reaction to the news proves that social media is extremely fertile, quickly accessible territory for media outlets with tight deadlines to consider, so ACMA's ruling is an interesting one to consider when publishing anything publicly on social networking sites.
Particularly worrying is ACMA's suggestion that, while the public nature of the posts was a determining factor in this instance, more protective privacy settings are not an assurance against your social networking activity being picked up by the press.
“The ACMA made it clear that while it considers the use of privacy settings an important consideration when assessing material obtained from social networking sites, the actual settings are not determinative,” the Authority said in a statement.
How and when social networking material can be appropriated for wider media use is an issue worth significantly more time and consideration. After all, there is a huge difference between the possibility that anyone could read your posts, and the reality of everyone actually doing it.
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