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What to Know About Online and Social Media Defamation

While there are many positives to social media, there are also plenty of negatives that come with it. Social media gives everyone a platform to speak their minds, sometimes at the expense of others. The rise of the internet and social media can mean a higher risk of having your name or business defamed in front of a large audience. Many people feel like they have the freedom to say whatever they want online or on social media without considering the impact it can have on the person or entity they’re speaking about or the legality of their actions. 

At Bantle & Levy, we know the damage that defamation can have on executive employees. We can assist you if your reputation has been defamed online, on social media, or elsewhere. 

What is Online and Social Media Defamation?

There are two types of defamation – libel and slander. Libel occurs when someone makes a defamatory statement in writing, while slander occurs when the statement is spoken orally. As something shared online or via social media is typed out, it’s considered libel. 

Defamation can occur in various places online and on different social media platforms. These can take the form of social media posts, reviews, and more. Just a few examples of where someone may make a defamatory comment online or on social media include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Yelp 
  • Reddit

To prove defamation, you must show that someone:

  • Made a false comment
  • Made the comment to a third party
  • The comment harmed your reputation, and
  • The defendant made the comment negligently or, if you’re a public figure, acted with actual malice. 

Many people use social media to share their opinions with others. Some might think that they can say whatever they want online if it’s their opinion. However, something someone thinks is simply their opinion could be interpreted as a fact by others. This is why it’s critical that you have a defamation attorney review your situation to determine what can be done to remedy it.

Additionally, while you may want to sue the internet service provider the comment was shared on, it’s likely that the Communications Decency Act will prevent you from doing so. Instead, you may sue the individual who made the comment. Even if the person who made the comment did so anonymously, you may still be able to take legal action against them. 

Protect Your Reputation with Bantle & Levy

Defaming an individual or entity on social media is easy to do, but this ease doesn’t make it legal. When your reputation is on the line, you can’t take comments like these lightly. Even if a post is taken down, the damage to your reputation is already done. Proving defamation can be a difficult task, which is why you need an attorney with a history of success. At Bantle & Levy, we know that executive employees are at additional risk of being defamed and having their character called into question.

You’ve worked hard to earn a positive reputation for yourself – don’t let someone else try to ruin it through comments online or on social media. Contact the defamation attorneys of Bantle & Levy today for legal counsel that will fight to defend you.

Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.

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