Twitter Ordered To Reveal The Anonymous Poster Who Accused All Time Low Member Of Sex Abuse

10 December 2022 | 12:13 pm | Mary Varvaris

The ruling comes after Jack Barakat and All Time Low filed a libel lawsuit in an attempt to clear their names earlier this year.

Twitter Ordered To Reveal The Anonymous Poster Who Accused All Time Low Member Of Sex Abuse

(Pic by Johnny Fontaine)

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CONTENT WARNING: This article contains discussions of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, or domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. 

All Time Low filed a libel lawsuit in February this year and categorically denied anonymous allegations of sex abuse against guitarist Jack Barakat. In the suit, the Weightless pop-punk band said they wanted to use the court's powers to subpoena and unmask accusers.

This week, the case went to a head when a Los Angeles judge backed All Time Low. Twitter has been given ten days to display "identifying information" behind "Jane Doe 2," the woman who published an anonymous account of alleged sexual assault in October 2021.

The anonymous post made by @ATLstatement on Twitter detailed sexual abuse allegations against Jack Barakat in 2011 when she was 15 and he was 22.

In the ruling obtained by Rolling Stone in an article written by Nancy Dillion, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy determined: "Plaintiffs cannot proceed with litigation without identifying Doe 2".

While the First Amendment protects the right to post what you want anonymously, Judge Murphy ruled that freedom of speech and anonymity doesn't include defamation. He wrote that plaintiffs such as All Time Low with "legally sufficient" lawsuits have the right to "discover" people who make allegations against them.

Judge Murphy added, "Here, the complaint states a valid claim because it sets forth the exact statements alleged to be defamatory, alleges that they are false, and alleges that defendants made the statements with actual malice.

"Plaintiffs deny under oath the accusations made in Doe 2’s Twitter post," he said. "Damage is presumed without the need for proof in libel per se cases where a statement is defamatory on its face, such as accusations of sexual assault. Nonetheless, plaintiffs allege that they have lost reputation, goodwill, and lost revenue. Therefore, the complaint states a valid claim for libel per see."

Twitter previously denied handing over information about its users but said it would only give information if served with a court order.

Find out more about the court order here.