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After WhatsApp Admins’ Liability for Member’s Offensive Content, Facebook Users May Also be Jailed When Tagged in Defamatory Posts

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Weeks after the Indian incident where a group administrator was arrested after a defamatory photoshopped image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was posted in his WhatsApp group, fears are that Facebook users may also be affected.


The issue made the government hold group admins responsible for any offensive posts or content shared by members. The case also sparked a debate in South Africa how an admin could be held responsible for a content he didn’t share. 

This placed a huge task on whatsApp group administrators who have over the past weeks screened membership and entry into their groups.

With the rise of online racism and hate, group admins must be liable to member’s posts. This is according to Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys Megan Claassens and Sinal Govender who referred to the India affair.

“We previously wrote about South Africa high court extending liability for defamation to people who have simply been tagged in posts on Facebook. It seems that administrators of social media groups should brace themselves to shoulder similar extended liability for what is posted in a group”, the lawyer pair said. 

Simon Colman, head of Digital Distribution at SHA Specialist Underwriters shared doubt if the South African government would implement same law as in India.  He further explains that group administrators have the responsibility to control who is invited to or removed from group chats.

The Indian case reminded admins that what is posted in their groups could have serious repercussions, especially when found guilty of defamation or hate speech.

His advice to WhatsApp group administrators was to ponder the consequence of the content shared on their groups if it was shared publicly, constantly educate members on what content is allowed and remove members who post offensive content.

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I am Arrey Bate Arrey I am a blogger, digital journalist, Online Marketing consultant & digital entrepreneur who has been featured on the BBC World Service, British Council and other international media. 6 years as a communicator, I am one of Cameroon's best digital communicators and listed among British Council's Top 100 Young Journalists Worldwide in 2019. My blog was nominated at Infinity Blog Awards USA among top 200 blogs from 3,000 submissions worldwide. With a deep knowledge of social media, I founded Arreyb Media, an online media in advertisement, digital branding and blogging with more that 100,000 monthly views on our website . I have built an insight driven online advertising and digital advertising skill serving 500+ brands and running even online presidential election campaigns. I have a deep insight-driven & customer-centered knowledge consulting and developing successful B2B and B2C go-to advertising/marketing ideas and was the first blogger to organize a national tour in Cameroon. The ARREYB Media national tour (ABNTour) was a series of 7 conferences held in 7 towns in Cameroon to train young entrepreneurs & media persons on digital branding and building a band, business or career via social media . Always smiling, I report as a journalist, consult as a media expert I am the founder of the AB Afrikpreneur Awards, an African award to celebrate entrepreneurial bodies & systems across Africa and the author of the book "How To Make Money, Build Right Relationships With Social Media" Through our media prowess, my team and I have been able to help several business owners, brands and institutions make more money and enjoy the beauty of business. I can do same for you ! I believe you have what it takes to change the world and live the life you’ve always wanted. The question is, are you ready to take your business or brand to the next level and start making more money ? I am one click away & anxious to help you []