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"Clickbait" pollutes internet with misleading ads

Celebrities are often careful about the products they endorse. They may wish to have their images or names associated only with companies or goods that will enhance their reputations. However, many celebrity images are being used in questionable marketing tactics called "clickbait." Anyone in Ohio who uses the internet has probably run across these ads.

Clickbait ads appear on other legitimate web pages, and they are created to lure curious readers into their advertisements with salacious headlines about celebrities. A headline, resembling a news story, may say that the celebrity has committed a crime, has some ominous secret or is dead. Readers, enticed by the headline, will click on it only to find it leads them to a website for an unrelated product.

Some say celebrities could clean up the false news clutter on the internet if they pursued libel claims more aggressively when advertisers create untrue headlines to lure potential customers. Since the headlines are presented as news stories, a case may be made for defamation. However, the First Amendment rights of news organizations are carefully protected, making such claims difficult. Law scholars believe courts would easily recognize clickbait as advertisements pretending to be news.

Even if one is not a celebrity, a person in Ohio has a right to protect his or her reputation from false claims published on the internet. Whether it is a cheater website, blog article or discussion board, defamatory comments can do damage to someone's personal and professional life. Discovering these comments online can feel like a nightmare. Fortunately, there are attorneys who have successfully assisted hundreds of people with removing unwanted content and protecting their reputations.

Source: fortune.com, "Should Celebrities Be Able to Stop Fake News Sites Using Their Faces?", Jeff John Roberts, Jan. 19, 2017

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