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What you should know about internet defamation

The injuries of libel and defamation have been around for a long time, but in the age of the Internet and with so many people turning to social media and public opinion to make decisions of who to trust, both personally and professionally, Internet defamation can cause serious problems. To many, typing insults and lies about a business or a person, such as an ex, and posting it on social media doesn't feel "real." The longer information stays on the Internet, the more likely it is that others will see it, and draw negative conclusions. Because of this, acting quickly to remove the content, and fight anyone who has made false allegations by hiring an Internet defamation lawyer is essential.

What Constitutes Online Defamation?

Defamation is a false statement about a person or business that negatively reflects on that person or business. The key word is false. The derogatory statement needs to be shown as untrue in order to successfully sue for damages. Defamation cases are considered personal injury cases, so monetary damages are possible. In the U.S. obtaining these settlements is more challenging due to the Communications Decency Act, which was passed in 1995, and protects ISPs and websites for being prosecuted for a user's post. Once these websites know about abusive and/or untrue content, they should take it down. Sometimes, a court order is necessary for this to happen, so filing a lawsuit becomes a necessity.

Common Examples of Defamation for Businesses

From a dollar standpoint, businesses usually have the most to lose when their business and brand is attacked. The strength of their reputation can often be tied directly to profits. Some possibilities include

  • Reviews of the business that claim unsafe or unclean premises
  • Accusations of mistreatment of a customer
  • Altered images or videos that put the business in a negative light
  • Discussion board posts

Personal Defamation

While negative social media posts can happen to an individual, there are some attacks that are more likely to harm on a personal level than on a business one.

  • False postings on"cheater" websites which sheds doubt on a person's overall character.
  • "Mugshots" photos that may be modifications of "normal" photos. Explicit or other compromising photos or videos may be presented this way as well. If the alteration is done well, these are more likely to go viral and cause pain and embarrassment to the victim. Having a lawyer work to pull them from the Internet ASAP is crucial.

Fact vs. Opinion

In a defamation case the relationship between fact and opinion can be unclear. The plaintiff will often need to assert themselves and prove false any accusations in order to receive actual compensation. But for most, saving their reputation is more important than an award. A defamation lawyer can help both businesses and individuals defend themselves and limit damage they experience.

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