15 Mar 2014

Cyber bullying victim welcomes bill

7:18 am on 15 March 2014

A victim of cyber bullying is welcoming a proposed law change which could force people who make highly offensive comments on social media to pay compensation to those they attacked.

Comments made on social media in a personal capacity cannot at present be investigated by the Privacy Commissioner, but that would change if the material is deemed highly offensive.

The proposed law change is part of a suite of cyber bullying reforms, and would allow people to seek damages after having the offensive material removed from the internet.

Jess Wilson, who received death threats on Facebook, believes financial penalties for bullies would act as a deterrent.

"The main thing is getting the stuff taken down and getting everything stopped, but at the end of the day there has to be consequences for actions."

Under the legislation, the maximum penalty would be $200,000. Other provisions would give people the right to ask their internet service provider to close down offensive content, and could result in a court order to stop the behaviour.