27% blind to online legalities - Metro US

27% blind to online legalities

A new survey released yesterday shows that while more Canadians are conversing online, over one-quarter of people believe they aren’t legally accountable for their online comments.

Twenty-seven per cent told a TD Insurance poll they believe they aren’t legally accountable for their comments on blogs, message boards and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

An alarming number of people are ignorant of the responsibility and legal liability, said Klaus Pohle, a professor of journalism specializing in media law at Carleton University.

These problems are fairly new, said Pohle.

“It used to be that publishers were people who published newspapers or broadcast on TV,” he said. “If you’re a blogger, or use Twitter or Facebook, you’re a publisher, and when you’re a publisher, you’re liable. People don’t understand that.”

The survey, conducted by Angus Reid Strategies last month, showed that 67 per cent of Canadians have posted comments online and 18 per cent regretted what they posted.

Fifty-three per cent of people shared their opinions about an experience, 52 per cent weighed in with their thoughts on an article, 23 per cent vented frustration about a company or product and five per cent discussed their jobs or employers.

“Most people approach online commenting as though they were chatting in person, completely unaware of the risks they’re taking,” said Henry Blumenthal, vice-president and chief underwriter at TD Insurance.

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