Defamation in Social Media
Social media is a place where we can connect and interact with others. It has become a place where we can reach a wide audience, may we personally know this audience or not. Because of the range of social media, the need for moderation has risen. Social media sites have rules and regulations to prevent pornographic and other inappropriate materials such as defamatory statements. But still, defamation in social media remains to be an issue.
According to an informative article from the website of a Charleston defamation lawyer, defamation involve the following:
- A false or defamatory statement that has been made and published
- The statement is about or is in reference to a specific victim
- The statement is unprivilaged and has been published to a third party
- The statement has caused special harm to the victim or is extremely defamatory regardless of whether it has caused harm or not
- The accused is the one who really made the statement
These statements online may be in the form of articles, blog posts, comments in posts, status updates, or statements in chat rooms and listservers. They can have negative effects not only in your reputation, but your overall relationship with others. This can cause damages involving employment and other opportunities.
Statements of Fact
Statements that are declared as facts but are not are some of the defamatory materials you can encounter online. For example, if a person has written a review about your restaurant and claimed that your restaurant has a cockroach infestation, that person’s statement may be considered defamatory, because it damages you and your restaurant’s reputation and may reduce sales. However, you have to prove that the statement is actually false.
Statements of Opinion
We all know that there is a fine line between fact and opinion, but some facts like to disguise themselves as opinions and some opinions like to pretend to be facts. For example, if the same restaurant reviewer claims that his cockroach infestation is merely an opinion, he can still be held liable.
Even if he says “I think this restaurant has a cockroach infestation,” it can still be damaging for you and your business. If the people read his reviews with loyalty and view him as an authority, they may see this opinion as a fact, and therefore believe that your restaurant is indeed infested by cockroaches and need to be avoided.
Social media is there to better our lives. It helps us connect to old and new audiences. But also remember that it is not without problems, and one of its issues that can negatively affect us is the easy distribution of defamatory materials, like the statements of facts and opinions.