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Channel Seven cleared by ACMA for use of RIP Facebook pics

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The Seven Network has been cleared of violating privacy provisions of the television code, after the network broadcast pictures and messages sourced from a memorial Facebook tribute page for a murdered woman.

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

Concerns were raised as one of the publicly broadcast messages came from a 14 year old boy and included his name and Facebook profile photograph.

The investigation 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.”

As 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 network was given the all-clear to broadcast such material.

The ACMA did find that Brisbane network station STQ7 did break the rules on accuracy and the handling of complaints.

The ACMA did warn however 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,” it said. ®

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