Many of us have started or have been a member of a WhatsApp group that started with an innocent purpose, perhaps for a weekend braai, or a homeowner safety group in your neighborhood. But at some point it got sour. Offensive jokes were thrown around, discussions got heated, downright hateful and potentially dangerous comments were posted. Unfortunately this is no longer something that can be ignored and now South Africans who are admins of WhatsApp groups must be careful what is said – as you can be held liable for the words of others in the group if you don’t mind Companies. Unreasonable? Secure. Unfair? Absolutely. But it’s better to be informed than to be dragged down by those in your Messenger group. Learn more in this article from MyBroadband. -Ross Sinclair
Big warning for WhatsApp group admins – you are legally responsible for member posts
By Hanno Labuschagne
Digital Law Company social media expert Emma Sadleir has warned WhatsApp group admins to take note of a recent update to the app that could make them legally liable for other users’ posts.
In a recent video published on YouTubeSadleir described the WhatsApp update as a “game changer” under South African law.
“It really ends the debate we’ve long had in legal circles about whether or not an admin of a WhatsApp group is responsible for the content of that group,” Sadleir said.
WhatsApp recently started giving group admins the ability to delete messages from other participants in a chat. after a short trial period where the feature was only available to beta users.
Sadleir explained that South African law states that group administrators are legally responsible for the content, which they can remove but choose not to.
“If you are the admin of a WhatsApp group, this change makes you legally responsible for everything that appears in that group,” Sadleir said.
“If someone abuses a group, sends hate speech, threats, hate speech, racism or illegal content, you will be held legally responsible if you do not delete the content.”
Laws that make certain messages illegal include the Cyber Crime Law and Film and Publication Amendment Act.
President Cyril Ramaphosa enacted significant parts of the Cybercrimes Act in December last year.
Ramaphosa and Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni enacted the Films and Releases Amendment Act earlier this year.
Ntshavheni Gazetted Regulations after the amended law last week.
Sadleir also pointed out that the latest WhatsApp update increases the time users have to delete a message for everyone.
Previously, this was limited to one hour after the person sent the message. After the update, users have up to 48 hours to delete messages for everyone.
This added ability could be a factor when trying to defend your case in court when you are reported for allowing content that is now considered illegal under South African law.
Sadleir urged viewers to share the message with family and friends to protect themselves from potential legal ramifications.
(1 time visited, 1 visits today)