Social networking sites, online commentary and content aggregation all have plenty of benefits. You can stay connected and updated better than ever. Unfortunately, these online platforms are also prone to defamatory content. These sites encourage and sometimes even monetize sharing information with minimal regulation or fact-checking. Someone can make a negative status update or video about you and spread it like wildfire.
What happens when you become the victim of defamation on social media? Here is some important information you should know about defamatory content online.
What counts as defamation?
In order to constitute defamation, the statement must be false, public and injure your reputation. One unique type of online defamation is a modified picture. If someone photoshops your picture in a scandalous manner, you may be able to sue that person for libel. These types of pictures may even go viral, especially if the person depicted in the photo is a social media influencer or entertainer. It is important to know that statements of fact and opinions do not count as defamation.
Who can you bring a lawsuit against?
If someone posts a defamatory statement or photo about you, you may be wondering who you can take legal action against. You may want to sue the website host or internet service provider because of their money. However, these entities have protection against most defamation claims. Because of this, your best bet may be to bring a claim against the actual individual or entity who makes the harmful statement. As a note though, every case is unique.
Where do I file the suit?
You must bring a lawsuit in the appropriate court. This will depend on things like the state you live in and where the defamer lives. An attorney can conduct a jurisdictional analysis to figure out the best place to bring your defamation claim to court.
Despite the many benefits of the internet, social media and defamation often go hand-in-hand.