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McEntee is urged to look at social media accountability

 

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Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Justice Minister Helen McEntee has been urged to examine the regulation of social media giants with European headquarters in Ireland.

The call by a well-known media lawyer comes amid concern over the lack of accountability shown for content on social media sites.

In a letter to Ms McEntee, solicitor Paul Tweed said the internet giants should incur a duty to protect citizens from online attacks, harassment, hate speech and fake news.

He also said such companies were taking content from mainstream media without reimbursement, undermining the survival of the free press.

Neither Facebook nor Twitter has been successfully sued in Ireland over the publication of defamatory material. They argue they are entitled to the benefit of the hosting immunity provided for under the EU's e-Commerce Directive.

Mr Tweed, whose clients include US self-help guru Tony Robbins and RTÉ presenter Miriam O'Callaghan, said he was "frustrated, if not bewildered, that Facebook, Twitter and others are continuing to argue that they are merely a platform as opposed to a publisher".

He said the social networks appeared to believe they were not subject to the defamation and privacy laws that regulate the mainstream media.

The delivery of a long-awaited review of the 2009 Defamation Act is contained in the programme for government. But the Department of Justice would not say if this will address issues around social media.

Irish Independent