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Google must compensate Australian politicians for not taking action against cyberbullying

Google must compensate Australian politicians for not taking action against cyberbullying

Google has to pay nearly half a million euros in damages to a former Australian politician after he was mocked in YouTube videos. This was decided by an Australian judge.

John Barillaro was New South Wales Deputy Prime Minister in 2020 when he was targeted in YouTube videos by Jordan Shanks on his Friendlyjordies channel. Comedian Barillaro was accused of corruption in the videos and imitating his Italian accent. One of the videos was filmed in the home of Barillaro, which he rented on Airbnb.

The videos have been viewed more than a million times, and Barillaro said in court: “I was so shocked by all of it.” According to him, the guy also stopped politics prematurely: in October 2020 he left Parliament.

Barillaro initially sued both Google and Shanks, but reached an agreement with the comedian late last year, who publicly apologized and edited the videos. However, Google, the owner of YouTube, refused to apologize for the videos.

According to the judge, Google did nothing to “prevent hate speech, cyberbullying and intimidation” and the company is responsible for the damages inflicted on Barillaro after December 2020. That’s when its lawyers wrote to the American giant for an offline photo shoot. The judge awarded Google a compensation of 715,000 Australian dollars, or about 480,000 euros.

The judge added that Shanks “needed YouTube to spread his poison” and that Google was willing to accommodate the comedian “to bring in revenue as part of his economic model.”