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Responding to Online Defamation

Online Defamation

October 20, 2019

Online defamation is an important consideration not only for businesses who operate their own websites, but also for businesses generally, who will be concerned about the risk that online defamation poses to their reputation.

  • If an untrue, and damaging statement is published by you or through a website or service you control, then you may be liable for online defamation.
  • You may still face a claim for online defamation even in respect of material posted by someone else on your site, for example in a forum, in comments or as other forms of user generated content, though the law now provides a defence for website operators in some cases.
  • To manage your risk, the first step is simply to be vigilant. In some cases it will be possible to avoid liability by promptly taking down material once you are notified about it. However, you should go further and pre-empt improper use by putting in place website terms and conditions.

Responding to Online Defamation

  • The online reputation of a company is more important now than ever before partly due to the prevalence of social media sites like Facebook, Linked In and Twitter.
  • Online comments can reach thousands if not millions of people over time. If the source of negative information is a trusted one then the negative comments could have a devastating impact on your reputation.
  • It may be difficult to identify the person who has made the statement or comment and online platforms may not take your complaint seriously.
  • For these reasons it is important to monitor online dialogue in order to be aware of what is being said about your business and to take legal action where necessary. We can help you monitor what is said about your brand online.
  • Whether a comment is simply negative, or constitutes online defamation, depends on the facts of the situation, and it may be inappropriate or counterproductive to respond aggressively.