Google ordered to pay John Barilaro $715,000 in damages

Google has been ordered to pay former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro $715,000 following a defamation trial over two YouTube videos made by comedian Friendlyjordies.

The Federal Court handed down the decision this morning after Barilaro sued Google over a "relentless, racist, vilificatory, abusive and defamatory campaign" carried out against him on YouTube for more than a year up until he resigned as deputy premier in October 2021.

The two offending videos Bruz and Secret Dictatorship were created by Jordan Shanks, known online as Friendlyjordies.

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Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro has settled his defamation case against YouTuber Jordan Shanks.

Justice Steven Rares found Google "made a considered decision" to keep the videos online, even after Barilaro had complained about them as encouraging bullying and harassment for profit.

Google owns YouTube, which is its second most visited site.

"Google encouraged and facilitated Mr Shanks in his vitriolic, obsessional, hate filled cyberbullying and harassment of Mr Barilaro both before and after Mr Shanks settled the defamation claims against him," the judgement read.

"It did so with a view to its commercial profit.

Rares further found the videos caused a traumatised Barilaro to end his career.

"Google's publication of the matters complained of drove Mr Barilaro prematurely from his chosen service in public life and traumatised him significantly," the judgement read.

"Google cannot escape its liability for the substantial damage that Mr Shanks' campaign caused.

"He needed YouTube to disseminate his poison.

"Google was willing to join Mr Shanks in doing so to earn revenue as part of its business model.

"It did so without regard to acting as a responsible or reasonable publisher, which actually intended its policies to be applied to Mr Shanks' campaign, would have acted."

The judgement further found Google had no defence to Barilaro's defamation claims, and dragged out the case with defences "that had no prospect of succeeding, causing Mr Barilaro added distress, damage to his reputation, and delay to his vindication".

Barilaro was awarded $675,000 and another $40,000 in prejudgment interest.

Barilaro and Shanks settled their own defamation case last November, involving Shanks apologising to Barilaro in court and paying the court costs.

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