The last several years has seen a huge increase in social media sites and the amount of people who use them. While the potential for businesses to promote themselves is a welcomed development, there is also the threat of damage to its reputation where negative comments are available to the wider public. Traditionally when one hears about defamation, comments made on radio, TV or in a newspaper spring to mind. However, any comment that is defamatory (that is, contains imputations designed to lower the reputation of a person or corporation) needs only to be published to at least one other person. Accordingly a negative post on Facebook is as defamatory as a comment broadcast by a shock-jock. It is no defence to say “my facebook page is a private page”. If you have at least one “friend” then your post will be defamatory and you could be sued.
We have advised businesses and developed strategies to allow them to quickly move to have unfair or defamatory posts online removed.
If you have been accused of defaming someone there are things you can do to prevent being sued. We can provide you with urgent advice.
- Regularly check sites for references to your business.
- Before you post a review about a business or person ask yourself “Is what I am writing necessary, fair and true”. If you just need to vent, posting a potentially defamatory comment online could be a very expensive exercise.