Google served in John Barilaro defamation lawsuit of Friendlyjordies content

On Friday morning, the Australian Federal Court ordered Google to be served with a defamation lawsuit from NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, with the politician alleging Google is a publisher of the content.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro

Image: Getty Images

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro's defamation lawsuit against Jordan Shanks-Markovina, known online as Friendlyjordies, has taken an interesting turn with Google joining the fold.

Shanks-Markovina is an Australian YouTuber who makes videos that satirise and provide commentary on the country's politics.

Shanks-Markovina, along with his producer Kristo Langker, were sued by Barilaro three months ago, with the deputy premier accusing them of making content that defamed him and framed him as a corrupt politician.

The content in question, a video entitled bruz and another called Secret Dictatorship, were published in September and October last year.

In addition to the lawsuit, Langker was charged in June by the NSW Police fixated persons unit with two counts of stalking or intimidating Barilaro with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm.

Google is tied to the lawsuit as the videos continue to be accessible on YouTube, which Barilaro alleges makes Google a publisher of the videos. In making that claim, Barilaro submitted that Google should be served with the lawsuit.

At Federal Court on Friday morning, Justice Steven Rares agreed with that submission and ordered for Google to be served with the defamation lawsuit.

After the hearing, Google said it will be defending the claims made by Barilaro. The decision to join the lawsuit was made only after the judge accepted that the company be served.

Since the lawsuit began, Shanks-Markovina has received over 24,000 donations to fund his defence against the defamation lawsuit. In total, the donations amount to AU$1 million.

The money has been deposited into a trust account for Xenophon-Davis lawyers, Shanks-Markovina said on his website.

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