Google Ordered To Pay Australian Politician Over Defamatory YouTube Videos

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An Australian court has ordered Google to pay $515,000 to a former New South Wales politician and then deputy premier, John Barilaro.

Google was fined after refusing to remove derogatory comments posted by content creator Jordan Shanks about the politician from YouTube.

According to Judge Steve Rares, Shanks uploaded videos in which he repeatedly branded the lawmaker Barilaro “corrupt,” without mentioning evidence. Shanks also called the politician names attacking his Italian heritage, which Judge Steve Rares called “nothing less than hate speech.”

Rares said Google’s decision to continue publishing the content implied that the platform had violated one of its own policies aimed at protecting public figures from being unfairly targeted.

“This drove Mr Barilaro prematurely from his chosen service in public life and traumatized him significantly. Google cannot escape its liability for the substantial damage that Mr Shanks’ campaign caused,” Rares said.

In response to the court ruling, Barilaro said he felt “cleared and vindicated.”

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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