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.
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.