Do Cyber Torts Include Online Defamation? Answered
With the rise of the internet and social media platforms, cyber libel has become the defamation field of our time. Online defamation can inflict untold financial and emotional damages on your reputation and character, so it’s important to be well informed about the laws surrounding it.
This article will teach you all the details you need to know about online defamation, what it consists of, what limitations exist, and how you can write a cease and desist letter easily with .
What Does Defamation Entail?
Whether your reputation has been harmed in a magazine, a conversation, or a Facebook post, defamation laws generally follow the same principles. Here is a breakdown of the two types of defamation.
|Defamation||A false statement that causes harm to an individual’s character and causes damages to their reputation.|
|Libel||A category of defamation, libel includes any statement which was written and published. This is not exclusive to physically printed statements, but also statements written online.|
|Slander||Slander includes any defamatory statement spoken out loud by someone and heard by a third party.|
Defamation: Slander or Libel?
Online defamation can be both, it depends on which platform the defamatory statement was made on:
- If the statement was posted on someone’s Facebook as a comment, then this is considered libel because the statement was written.
- If the defamatory comment happened as part of someone’s Youtube video, then it is considered slander because it was spoken out loud.
The Issue of Anonymous Users
Intentionally defamatory content tends to be posted online in an anonymous fashion to avoid facing the consequences of their actions.
So what happens if you’ve been defamed by an anonymous user? To pursue a viable defamation lawsuit you need to know who you are accusing. The only way to get the platform to reveal this information (due to privacy concerns) would be to request a subpoena for the user information.
- The subpoena request should include things like email address, IP address, service provider, information from google analytics, etc.
- Before you enforce the subpoena, you must contact the anonymous user once the subpoena has been issued by the court to inform them of the legal proceeding which you have begun against them.
Understanding the Role of Internet Service Providers
When it comes to filing a lawsuit for online defamation, many people believe that they should sue the ISP involved, particularly because the damages would likely be greater.
However, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act functions as a barrier to this. The act makes it clear that an ISP is not responsible for the content that its users post online and thereby exempts them from most defamation claims.
What Is Needed to Prove Online Defamation?
- You must prove that the statement which was posted or said online was objectively false. Statements of opinion do not count.
- You must prove damages to your reputation, this can be shown through financial losses, emotional distress, loss of employment opportunities, etc.
- The statement cannot have been of privilege, meaning it cannot have been made within any sort of professional confidentiality, or within a court of law as a witness or a lawmaker.
- Negligence is necessary. This means that the statement was made recklessly, without a concern for the truth or any investigation into the facts.
Can You Get Sued for Reposting a Defamatory Statement?
If you had repeated the defamatory statement in person, with full knowledge of its falsehood and damage, then you might have been at risk. However, the Communications Decency Act also serves to protect people who repost something as “intermediaries”. Of course, this is assuming that you reposted the comment with no additional statements and that you did not understand the damages and falsehood of it.
What Is a Cease and Desist Letter and How Can It Help Me?
- A cease and desist letter would be sent to the person who made the defamatory statement about you, outlining exactly the damages you have suffered
- If there is a possibility of further defamation, the letter would Warren about your intention to pursue a legal defamation lawsuit unless it stops
- In cases of online defamation, you could request that the content be taken down from whatever platform it was posted on.
- The letter does not require a legal attorney to be served or written. This would keep your expenses down, and help you find resolution directly.
Get a Cease and Desist Letter from DoNotPay!
Cease and desist letters can work not only for defamation but also for cases of harassment and copyright infringement. Whatever your case is, DoNotPay can help you draft a personalized cease and desist letter explaining your situation concisely and formally.
Here’s how it works:
1. Look for Defamation Demand Letters on .
2. Briefly explain the defamatory issue you wish to resolve, as well as any details that you think might be relevant about the case - be as specific as possible.
3. According to your location, will draft a formal cease and desist defamation letter based on all the relevant libel laws within your state!
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