The issue of trolling and anonymity is already well understood, and if a recent ruling by the European Courts of Human Rights (ECHR) is anything to go by, anonymous comments could be on a shaky peg.
As PaidContent reports, an Estonian court had held a local news site, Delfi AS, liable for offensive comments that were posted on a story anonymously. The story in question dates back to 2006, and centered on a ferry firm that had changed its routes thus causing delays to the opening of new ice roads – Delfi was fined $434 in damages. But why was it held responsible for the defamatory comments, and not the commenters themselves? Well, because they were anonymous.
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Delfi’s defence was that the court’s initial ruling violated its freedom of expression, but the ECHR disagreed. It’s early days, but this could prove to be a landmark ruling further down the road, insofar as it will make publications think twice about allowing anonymous comments.