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Facebook falsehoods

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On 24 July 2008 a British man was awarded £17,000 (about $A35,200) in damages by the British High Court after the Court found that he had been defamed via a Facebook entry, and that his privacy had been breached.  His company was also awarded £5,000 ($A10,400) for defamation.

The Court found that Grant Raphael was responsible for creating Facebook entries including a false profile for Mathew Firsht.  The entries included details of Mr Firsht's supposed sexual orientation, and his political and religious views.  Not all of this information was accurate.  There was also information about Mr Firsht and his company that suggested that they avoided paying their debts by lying.

Equal Opportunity Commissioner Linda Mathews said, "This case demonstrates how recent technology and modes of communication can be used in unfair ways.  Under the SA Equal Opportunity Act, unfair treatment based on personal characteristics such as sexuality may be unlawful discrimination.  Employers should take care that they have appropriate policies designed to prevent potential unlawful discrimination using Facebook, email or SMS messages."

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