Google told to pay Australian politician $515,000 for defamation | News

An Australian court ordered Google to pay John Barilaro $515,000 for defamatory videos posted on YouTube.

An Australian court ordered Google to pay a former lawmaker around AU$715,000 ($515,000) in libel damages for two videos posted to YouTube.

The Federal Court of Australia found on Monday that two videos had forced John Barilaro, deputy prime minister of Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales, to give up politics early.

Judge Steven Rares said the videos posted by political commentator Jordan Shanks were a “relentless, racist, defamatory, abusive and defamatory campaign” against Barilaro.

The videos have questioned the former lawmaker’s integrity, including labeling him “corrupt” without evidence and calling him racist names “nothing more than a word of mouth”. hate speech,” the judge said.

He discovered that Alphabet Inc’s Google, which owns the content-sharing website YouTube, had made thousands of dollars by hosting two videos but had not implemented its own policies to prevent abusive language. hate action, cyberbullying and harassment.

The videos have been viewed nearly 800,000 times between them since being posted in late 2020.

When Barilaro quit politics in October 2021, it was because he was “traumatized by the Google campaign and Mr. Shanks and… that caused him to leave public office early,” Rares said.

“I find Google’s conduct during this process to be improper and indefensible.”

A Google spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The company initially defended its conduct but later withdrew all protections and admitted that the videos smeared Barilaro, according to Australia’s Associated Press news agency.

A spokesman for Shanks, who was a co-defendant with Google until he and Barilaro reached an agreement last year, had no immediate comment.

Shanks, who uses the name Friendlyjordies on YouTube, last November agreed to pay A$100,000 ($72,000) to Barilaro and accepted in court that some of his videos offended the former lawmaker.

He also apologized for the hurt he had caused to Barilaro.

Outside Federal Court on Monday, Barilaro told local media he felt vindicated and that he was glad he had reached “the end of the journey”.

“You have to be brave or stupid to take on Google, maybe it’s a bit of both,” he is quoted by ABC television.

Barilaro said all he wanted was an apology and that’s why he settled with Shanks.

“It was never about the money. It’s about an apology, the dismissal. “

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