WhatsApp Group Admins Are Legally Responsible for Content Shared in their Groups

at least in South Africa and India, for now!


You thought you made it in life when you finally became a group admin? Well this news will send chills down your spine.

A South African social media law specialist, Emma Sadleir, has warned that WhatsApp group admins could be held legally responsible for the content that is posted in their groups, and could even be sued for defamation.

In 2016, two Indian state governments issued controversial directives declaring “social media administrators were liable for content circulated in groups and could be prosecuted for sharing any factually incorrect, rumour or misleading information.”

About a month ago, a WhatsApp group admin in India was arrested after a member of his group posted “an ugly image of the Indian Prime Minister”. The admin together with the person who posted the image were arrested and charged.

According to My Broadband, South African WhatsApp group admins could face the same predicament.

Emma Sadleir said the “law of South Africa treats a WhatsApp administrator as if they are like an editor of a newspaper and you are responsible for the content of its pages”.

Sadleir advised WhatsApp group admins to clearly state that they are “dissociating themselves from what’s been said on the group if it is defamatory in any way,” to protect themselves from legal charges.

This will definitely raise some controversy and I am not entirely sure how I feel about it considering WhatsApp groups are open forums and one cannot really control what will be posted.

I cannot imagine what would happen if such a law was passed in Kenya. Glad I’m not a group admin.

Oh, wait! *hurries to delete all controversial WhatsApp groups*