Defamation On Social Media

Are You Law Abiding on Social Media?  Social media users are being charged with contempt of court, for posting photos and revealing the new name and location of convicted criminals, whose identity has been protected by the courts.  Anyone using social media, needs to be aware of the implications resulting from any campaigns, comments, photos and videos published on any platform.  Social media is a channel of communication and fun, but it is a mine field of both social rights and wrongs, as well as criminal offenses.

What you can and can’t say on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. 

Remember that you are liable if your campaign damages someone’s reputation or affects their business in some way.  Any defamatory allegations or innuendos that allude to an allegation, may be used in the court of law as defamation.  If the statement has affected or is likely to financially affect the defendant, then there’s liability and it could be very high.

Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law, but unfortunately many are unaware of the implications involved in their use of, for instance, the names of public figures on social media.  You’d be surprised at how much you can and can’t say on Facebook or any social media platform.  The rule of thumb is: if it damages someone’s reputation, then it’s defamation and as such it is a civil offence, you are liable and the cost could be very high.

Avoid repeating defamatory comments on social media platforms, regardless of whether you believe it to be true or not.  If you can’t prove it, you’re better off keeping away from any online “gossip”.

According to the Defamation Act 2013, “the first condition is that the statement complained of was a statement of opinion”.  In other words, unless you can justify your comments as opinion, if it has caused injury, then you are liable.  Bear in mind that the Defamation Act 2013 says that any statement can be held in the court of law, and a statement can be by means of “words, pictures, visual images, gestures or any other method of signifying meaning”.

If you have or are being affected by any of these issues, please contact us for an informal free consultation.  SG

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