Defamation Online

Everyone loves reading a snarky comment or outlandish review. They make for entertaining content and many websites are entirely based on publishing acidic articles and reviews. The problem is that even though it’s fun to read while on the outside, it can be devastating to your business, emotional state and future job prospects. Defamation is any false information that damages your reputation. Gaining protection from this kind of online attack is essential, but thankfully there are many ways to limit or remove any damage done.

Defaming Information

The first thing that must be done is to define what defaming information is to ensure that you can request content removal. The most important thing is that the post, review or article must publish false information about you. Opinions often do not count, but posts presented as facts that are either intentionally or unintentionally false can be taken to court if necessary.

Defaming content must be specifically about you, otherwise it doesn’t legally count as libel. This can be either directly through using your name, or indirectly by making a clear and obvious implication. For example, if you are an English teacher and a student makes a false statement while specifically mentioning their teacher, then this counts as defaming content.

These statements must also do harm to your brand or reputation. This can be measured either in actual damages, such as removal from a job or reduction of sales, or potential damage, such as posts that would make people think less of the person or brand and then reasonably lead to actual damages.

Celebrities and public officials require more information to proceed with removal. They must prove that the entity who posted the damaging content acted with malice, or that they intentionally wanted to cause harm.

There are two ways to defame people and businesses. Libel refers to any written information while slander refers to audio and video. Both can be pursued in court if necessary, but often the posts or videos are removed long before that if the proper steps are followed.

Effects on Businesses and People

The effects of defaming information on both businesses and people can be varied, but it always causes actual harm. As stated above, a post or video can only be considered defaming it if causes or can cause damage. The most common damages are loss of sales, a current job or future opportunities. While this is the damage most often recognized because it’s easy to measure and observe, the hurt goes much further than this.

An overwhelming majority of people who suffer from libel or slander act irrationally after receiving the information. This can lead to short bouts of anger, prolonged episodes of depression and even to suicide. The harm caused by defaming posts is very real and it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of people in this situation act rationally.

Some people isolate themselves to ensure that no one brings up the false accusations. Others may leave their jobs or even give up on careers out of fear. The emotional responses vary from person to person, but they are typically extreme and can lead to lasting pain.

Many targets of libel and slander feel persecuted, turn the hurt inward and may even refuse to fight the defaming posts as an emotional defense. The important thing is to recognize that this has happened to you and that there are services available to help remove the false content.

First Steps

The first step is to get help. In some cases, you can contact the poster and ask him or her to remove the post or video. This may sometimes work and is preferable, but there are several hurdles. The other person may want to intentionally hurt you, resist as they believe the statement is true or you may not even know the poster. While anonymous posting changes the order of later steps, you can still get protection from the damage of libel and slander.

Going Further
Most situations require a little more work because the poster is either resistant or impossible to find. Every website has its own rules and regulations when it comes to content removal. There are various forms that must be filled out and all of their rules must be followed properly to ensure that the content is taken down.

If the poster is the owner of the website, not just posting content on another website, then you will have to either go through an administrator or the website host. Hosts will take down entire pages if legally required.

Content that can be removed includes:

  • Posts
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

You’ll also be happy to know that posts can be taken down from the most popular websites. This includes YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, Ripoff Report and much more. Even smaller websites that post defamation can be contacted to remove false, damaging posts.

From hacked accounts and impersonation to cyber abuse and infringing content, it can all be removed if you have the right service provider helping you.

Shielding Against Future Attacks
Future attacks may happen, especially if the poster really wants to damage you or if the information reached enough people. Reputation management can help with this. Keywords and names can be monitored to ensure that any damaging content is quickly caught and dealt with.

This is essential to keep the damage from getting too bad, and to show the offending party that you are actively stopping their efforts to defame you. User-generated content can be posted in seconds, meaning you need to catch damaging posts as soon as possible to protect your reputation.

Many people wait on dealing with defamation. They are scared and may act irrationally. While no one wants to go through the process of contacting websites and having defaming content taken down, this is happening to you and it must be dealt with quickly to reduce the damage. Contact us today so that we can immediately assess the damage and work to remove the false content.