Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) the parent company of online search giant Google has been ordered to pay a former Australian politician, John Barilaro, A$715,000 ($515,000) over refusal to take down YouTube videos which were ‘relentless, racist, vilificatory, abusive and defamatory’ which caused the politician to lose his seat.
The Federal court established that Google intentionally hosted two videos which were attacking the then deputy premier of New South Wales, which is the most populated state in Australia on its YouTube platform. The court says Google has been making money from the videos since they have attracted almost one million vies since they were uploaded in 2020.
The judgment notes that Google had denied he videos carried defamatory imputations and said the YouTuber had had the right to give their honest opinion and should be protected by the right to criticize a politician.
In the videos, the creator Jordan Shanks repeatedly brands John Barilaro as corrupt without tabling any evidence to support his claims. He further calls him names attacking his Italian heritage, the ruling established this amounted to nothing less than hate speech.
Prof David Rolph, a media specialist law at the University of Sydney Law School says Google was clearly advised on how defamatory the videos were and ‘decided for themselves that they weren’t, and left them up’
“That’s an orthodox application of the basic principles of publication in defamation law but leaves the larger question about whether we need to reform the principles of publication,” added Rolph.