The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has said that news agencies using photos and material sourced from publicly available Facebook pages are not breaching the privacy provisions in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.
The ACMA had been looking into a news report by television broadcaster Seven, which had shown photographs of a woman and her family that had been taken from a Facebook tribute page and the post of a young boy.
The ACMA decided that since the tribute page was openly available, and the photos weren't sensitive, Seven had not breached the privacy provisions of the code.
The ACMA decided that whether a page had been made private using the privacy settings is an important consideration when deciding if a news organisation's report has breached the privacy provisions. However, it is not the only consideration, with other specifics to be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.
For example, the ACMA said that Seven could have breached the code if it had disclosed sensitive information about the health and welfare of the child, or had reported on a criminal matter involving the child's family.