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Treat social media networks as different to newspapers in any new regulation, indicates Leveson

By Hamish Mackay

January 27, 2012 | 2 min read

Lord Justice Leveson has has said that he believes social networks such as Twitter and Facebook should be treated differently from newspapers in any new regulatory regime for the media.

At the Leveson Inquiry into press standards yesterday, he stated that there was a difference between an online version of a newspaper or an online magazine and social media websites which are hosting conversations between individuals.

The Guardian quotes him as saying: "I think that I might see there is a distinction between Facebook, where one person is communicating with their friends, or Twitter, and organisations that are in the business of selling themselves with reference to news or information.

"That is the difference between the pub chatter, to take the analogy that was mentioned before, and that which the state – I don't mean government, I say immediately, but the broad corpus of all of us – has an interest in seeing as a level playing field," he added.

Leveson has emphasised on several occasions that he has not reached any conclusions about the best form of future press regulation, but is seeking to explore potential options in his discussions with witnesses.

Google executives yesterday defended their policies on libel and defamation to the Leveson Inquiry - telling the judge they complied with local law around the world.

Acceding to The Guardian, Daphne Keller, the legal director of Google, said material would be removed in a matter of days if they were shown a court order where a judge found material to be defamatory.

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