Australians denied access to CNN Facebook pages

Australians can no longer access CNN's Facebook pages.

That's after the news giant decided to pull its Facebook presence in the country after the High Court ruled this month that publishers can be liable for defamation in public comment sections.

The move makes CNN the first major news organization to pull its Facebook presence in Australia.

Though it's not a major player in Australian media consumption, the decision could have reverberations across the industry if other outlets follow suit.

Peter Lewis is the director of think tank Centre for Responsible Technology.

He says a number of news organisations are looking at switching off comments on their stories posted on Facebook due to the legal risk.

''The publishers I think have come to the conclusion that running community content through Facebook if they are actually responsible for it, actually undermines one of the reasons they pushed it onto that platform in the first place, which was that it was obviously cheaper and easier than employing their own moderators."

CNN said that Facebook declined a request to help it and other publishers disable public comments in the country following the ruling, which was made during the course of an ongoing defamation lawsuit.

A Facebook spokesperson said recent court decisions had shown the need for reform in Australian defamation law and the company looked forward to, quote, "greater clarity and certainty in this area."

Lewis says CNN may be the first, but won't be the last to pull out.

''There'll be more of this, we've had this major disruption in the way that we share communication and make sense of the world and Facebook is the big beneficiary in terms of the money made out of that shift. The fact is there needs to be a reckoning and I think we're living in it at the moment."

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