ACMA considers privacy of material sourced from Facebook | ACMA

ACMA considers privacy of material sourced from Facebook

Media Release 137/2011 - 19 December 2011

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has investigated whether the broadcast of material sourced from Facebook breaches the privacy provisions in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2010 (the code).

The ACMA’s investigation concerned a Seven Local News report broadcast by the licensee of STQ (Seven). The report included photographs of a woman and her family and friends accessed from a Facebook RIP tribute page, and a post entered by a 14 year old boy which included his name and Facebook profile photograph.

The ACMA found that due to the open nature of the tribute page, the absence of privacy settings and the non-sensitive nature of the photographs, Seven did not breach the privacy provisions of the code. In this case, the report did not disclose sensitive information concerning the health or welfare of the child, or report on a criminal matter involving his immediate family.

The ACMA made it clear that while it considers the use of privacy settings is an important consideration when assessing material obtained from social networking sites, the actual settings are not determinative. In each case, the ACMA will assess a licensee’s compliance with its privacy code obligations having regard to the specific circumstances of the broadcast.

Further, the investigation found that Seven breached two provisions of the code relating to accuracy by incorrectly attributing a statement to a person in the broadcast, and complaints handling by failing to inform the complainant of the correct complaints handling procedures.

In response to the ACMA’s findings, Seven will provide its staff with further code training and incorporate the ACMA’s report into training materials.

Investigation report 2584 is available on the ACMA’s website.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or

Last updated: 02 February 2016